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PRG Acquires Strategic Stake In Bendon Group

Auckland, 16 January 2002 -- Pacific Retail Group (NZSE:PRG) announced that it has today taken a strategic stake in Bendon Group Limited (NZSE: BEN), acquiring a 15.5 percent interest from Tower Asset Management.

The move comes as the Directors of Bendon Group announced that they had received further expressions of interest in purchasing the operating subsidiary, Bendon Limited, following the announcement of an agreement in principle reached to sell it to an MBO consortium.

PRG has also stated that it will participate in the process, established by the Bendon Group board and its advisors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, under which interested parties can submit binding offers for the purchase of Bendon Limited.

Peter Halkett, PRG CEO, said that, while the move represents a departure from PRG's traditional business activities - the operation of the Noel Leeming, Bond and Bond, Big Byte and Living and Giving retail chains and Pacific Retail Finance - it is firmly in line with both PRG's expansion strategy and the aspirations of its major shareholder.

"PRG recognises that Bendon has developed a considerable reputation and expertise in designing, marketing and distributing intimate apparel," he said.

The bid is strongly supported by Cullen Investments subsidiary and PRG majority shareholder, Logan Corporation, which holds 73.17 percent of the ordinary shares in PRG.

"While the uncertainties of the macroeconomic environment have depressed markets in general and the difficulties Bendon has encountered building momentum in international markets have further affected its price, we recognise the inherent value in the Group and its stable of brands," said Phil Newland, Group Managing Director of Cullen Investments and PRG Director.

"We saw an opportunity to add to our stable other strong brands from a market leader and add value through operating expertise and synergies," says PRG Director and Director of Operations for Cullen Investments, Stefan Preston.

PRG was subject to a full takeover offer from Logan in November last year, as a result of which Logan increased its holding in the company by over 10 percent.

Mr Newland was appointed a director of PRG on Monday this week.


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