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Laura Ashley raises Moss Bros stake

Fashion to furnishings group Laura Ashley has raised its stake in Moss Bros to 5.96%, fuelling speculation that it could make a bid for the beleaguered menswear retailer.

Laura Ashley bought 100,000 Moss Bros shares yesterday at 46p each, boosting its holding to 5.96%. This is the fifth time Laura Ashley has raised its stake in Moss Bros this month.

Moss Bros is currently subject to an indicative 42p-per-share takeover approach from Icelandic investment giant Baugur, which already owns 29.75% of the retailer. The board has given Baugur permission to carry out due diligence, but members of the retailer’s founding Moss and Gee families, who together own 26% of the company, oppose the move claiming it undervalues the company.

A spokesman for Laura Ashley declined to comment on speculation. He said: "The company sees Moss Bros as an investment opportunity."

Laura Ashley is 34% owned by Malayan United Industries.

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