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BreadTalk founder's Pacific Sogo stake won't yield management rights: holding company

BREADTALK founder George Quek's acquisition of a stake in Taiwan's Pacific Sogo Department Stores will not give him and his business partner management and controlling rights, Sogo holding company Pacific Distribution Investment Company said in a media release on Tuesday night.

Mr Quek had previously told media that he and long-time business partner Weng Chun-chih, via Singapore-incorporated company Clover Private Limited, had entered a deal with Taiwanese businessman Lee Heng-lung to acquire the bulk of the latter's 60 per cent stake in Pacific Distribution.

However, Pacific Distribution said Mr Lee's equity holding only accounts for 0.15 per cent of Pacific Distribution and is insufficient to cause management change at Far Eastern Sogo Department Store Company.

It added that it has engaged legal counsel and will send a notice to Mr Quek "to inform him to seek better understanding of the relevant legal background".

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Noting reports of a dispute with regard to its equity holding, Pacific Distribution said the company has already been vindicated in its stance by the courts. "The capital injections of Far Eastern Group's affiliates into the company since 2002 are legitimate. The verdicts from the court are valid and binding."

As for reports that Clover may intend to settle the dispute through the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), Pacific Distribution said it will cooperate accordingly.

But it added that Clover needs to be qualified to file the case, noting that it has not notified the company of its equity transfer, and is thus not reflected as a shareholder in the company data.

Referring to a Sept 30 Liberty Times report in which the claim of a management impact from the deal had been made, Pacific Distribution said: "This news report involves and affects the interests of the company, our parent company, subsidiaries, as well as innumerous employees, and stakeholders including vendors, consumers and the general public. The company reserves the rights to take legal action against such untruthful reports."