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Iceland's Baugur Group Mulls Joint Bid for Saks

Icelandic investor Baugur Group said it could make a joint bid for luxury department store operator Saks with Dubai-owned Landmark Group, and shares of Saks rose nearly 9 percent after hours.

Baugur, owner of Britain's House of Fraser, said in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that it intended to hold discussions with Saks' management and board regarding a possible acquisition, and to discuss possible financing.

Saks did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Baugur, which is controlled by Jon Asgeir Johannesson and owns or has built up stakes in a host of British retailers and other companies, has the right to acquire more than 12 million shares of Saks, or 8.5 percent of its common stock.

Landmark, which owns hypermarkets in India, owns 1.66 million shares, or about 1.2 percent of Saks' common stock, according to the filing.

Saks, which operates Saks Fifth Avenue, Off 5th and Club Libby Lu stores, has been overhauling its business and renovating stores after shedding its mid-tier chains in 2005 and 2006.

Takeover speculation first emerged in the media two weeks ago and Saks shares have risen nearly 14 percent since October 1. In extended trade on Monday, the stock rose 8.6 percent to $21.50 after closing up 52 cents at $19.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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