Many wealthy investors have been eyeing George Steuarts which broke into the news last week with a sizable stake being acquired by advertising personality and share market deal-maker, Dilith Jayaweera and his partner in many acquisitions Nimal Perera.
Among the earlier interested parties was Nimal Perera’s boss, Dhammika Perera, according to informed sources. They said that the senior Perera had been talking to them over the past eight months, but due to the disputed 30% in the company which is now in courts, he had dropped it.
According to them, other interested parties included Dr. Sena Yaddehige, Chairman Richard Peiris Group, Ashok Pathirage, Chairman Softlogic Group and Malaysian-based, Quest International Chairman and major shareholder at Asia Capital Vijay Eswaran.
“The (brand) name is worth it, but the assets aren’t,” one source who was negotiating the deal for a senior businessman told the Business Times, adding that George Steuart’s asset value lies only in its properties at Fort (Steuart House at Janadhipathi Mawatha, Fort), in Mount Lavinia and Nuwara Eliya. Other businessmen had backed out mainly due to the disputed stake held by the Group’s Joint Managing Director Dubsy Kanagaratnam.
According to the source Mr. Kanagaratnam wasn’t going to sell it. “It was near impossible to buy it from him and on top of that this 30% was in courts abroad,” he said, which many others confirmed to the Business Times. Dr Yaddehige had wanted it 10 years ago, while Mr. Pathirage had looked at it less than a year ago.