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GODFREYS

The Godfreys Group is one of the largest speciality retailers of domestic and commericial floorcare and associated cleaning products in Australia and New Zealand.

The company is headquartered in Melbourne and has more than 200 company-owned and franchise outlets, employing approximately 460 permanent employees.

Godfreys, which was founded in the 1930s by Godfrey Cohen and his business partner John Johnston, had listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in late 2014, but by early 2018 was suffering from declining sales, profit downgrades and a plummeting share price.

In April 2018, Mr Johnston, at the age of 99, launched an all-cash off-market takeover bid for the company with the aim of de-listing Godfreys from the ASX and running it as a private company.

The takeover was run by Arcade Finance, which is owned by Mr Johnston and his family.

Corporate Conversation was appointed as part of the advisory team to assist the takeover bid.

Activity involved developing and implementing a coordinated media campaign aimed at encouraging Godfreys' more than 1200 shareholders to accept the offer of 33.5 cents per share.

A program was put in place to ensure positive national media coverage for the bid.

This involved close discussions with selected business journalists across Australia.

Extensive national media coverage was obtained across newspapers, radio, television and social media outlets across the country.

A new website aimed at keeping all stakeholders in the takeover informed was developed containing key messages and updates of takeover bid.

By late June, Mr Johnston and his family had acquired more than 90% of the Godfreys shares and commenced a compulsory acquisition of the remainder.

On July 11, Godfreys was officially removed from the ASX and is now 100% owned by Mr Johnston.

The takeover was completed ahead of Mr Johnston's 100th birthday in late July.

Corporate Conversation was subsequently appointed public relations consultants for Godfreys.