Takeover time for Corporate Express?


11 June 2007 — Amsterdam (NL): Speculation is mounting concerning whether Corporate Express (CE) may be on the verge of being taken over.

According to the Financial Times, regulatory filings have revealed that UK hedge fund Centaurus, has built an "influential stake" in the company. The Dutch Authority for Financial Markets reports that as of 7 June, Centaurus owned a 5.02 percent of CE voting rights.


The contracts stationer’s share price has fallen 16 percent this year, reducing its market value to approximately €1.7 billion ($2.2 billion).


In March, CE, still trading as Buhrmann, reported an increase of 7.1 percent in 2006 net sales €6.3 billion from €5.9 billion a year earlier. The North American division’s net sales for the year rose by 4.4 percent to €3.2 billion, compared to €3.05 billion in 2005. European net sales were €1.09 billion, up 15.7 percent from €947.6 million a year earlier.


The month also saw the resignation of Mark Hoffman, president and CEO of CE North America, and member of the CE executive board.