David Jones shareholders support Woolworths takeover bid; ATM fees on the rise: Midday Roundup

David Jones shareholders support Woolworths takeover bid; ATM fees on the rise: Midday Roundup

The takeover of department store David Jones looks set to proceed, with the $2.2 billion takeover bid from Woolworths South Africa given the green light from the company’s shareholders this morning.

According to Business Spectator, 89.6% of David Jones shareholders voted in favour of the deal, with 10.4% registering their vote against. David Jones previously said 96.48% of proxy votes were cast in support of the takeover.

The results from today’s vote mean Woolworths has satisfied the two hurdles needed for the deal to go ahead: majority support from the David Jones shareholders present and voting, and at least 75% of the total number of votes by David Jones shareholders present and voting either in person or by proxy.

Today’s vote had been delayed after it was revealed retail giant Solomon Lew had bought up just short of 10% of David Jones’ shares.

The approval of Woolworths’ bid for David Jones by shareholders also paves the way for Woolworths to acquire Lew’s 12% share in fashion brand Country Road, of which it already owns 88%.

ATM fees on the rise

Eight of the 14 operators of ATMs in Australia have increased their fees in the five years since the introduction of the Reserve Bank’s ‘direct charge’ changes, according to research published today by financial comparison website Mozo.com.au.

According to Mozo, Australians are now paying $555 million each year in ATM fees, with independent operators Cashcard and CashConnect now charging users $2.50 per withdrawal.

The big four banks have so far kept their fees under $2, but Mozo predicts they will soon be tempted to join their small competitors.

“This is not a win for consumers,” said Mozo director Kirsty Lamont in a statement.

“The ATM reforms brought in by the Reserve Bank in 2009 are a failure, with no regulatory control and no market forces to keep a lid on fees. Further reform is needed to keep ATM usage costs fair for everyone.”

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, taking the lead from Wall Street.

“The domestic sharemarket has started the week on the front foot, marching back over the 5500 line in the opening hour of the session following a positive lead from US markets,” said CMC Markets sales trader Niall King.

“The big four banks have done most of the heavy lifting so far, with Westpac leading the way,” said King. “Elsewhere, hopes for stronger production figures lifted BHP, while the other major miners have foundered so far.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 31.5 points to 5518.3 points at 12.14pm AEST. Last week, the Dow Jones closed 28.74 points higher, up 0.17% to 16943.8 points.


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