At 99 years old, Godfreys vacuum empire co-founder wants to buy his business back

At 99 years old, Godfreys vacuum empire co-founder wants to buy his business back

He co-founded the Godfreys vacuum cleaner empire prior to WWII and now John Johnston, aged 99, wants to buy his business back.

Johnston is the former business partner of Godfrey Cohen who established the Godfrey Group in 1931 during the great depression.

Godfreys first listed on the ASX at $2.75 in 2014 and, following a steady fall from grace, hit an all-time low of 21 cents on Monday.

Through his business Arcade Finance, Johnston has proposed to buy back all Godfreys shares at a price of 32 cents and aims to re-privatise the company.

Johnston said taking the company off the ASX is its best hope for survival and that he "can't be certain about the future of Godfreys shares" if the board were to reject his takeover offer.

"Arcade believes that the restructuring required to restore Godfreys' value would be best carried out in an unlisted private company environment," said Johnston.

"Therefore, Arcade proposes to remove Godfreys from the ASX official list upon acquisition."

Arcade Finance is currently Godfreys largest shareholder, owning 28.09 per cent of all Godfreys' issued shares.

The partnership between Cohen and Johnston lasted more than 70 years and Godfreys has now grown to almost 200 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

It is reported that a successful takeover is not expected to result in the closures of any Godfreys stores, nor result in job losses.

Godfreys has initially responded to Arcade's offer recommending that shareholders "take no action" while the board considers the proposal.

The board will also appoint an independent third-party to provide an opinion as to whether the offer from Johnston is reasonable or not.

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