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Arbitration between Lowe’s and Woolworth’s Underway

Wednesday, September, 21, 2016

Lowe’s has entered into arbitration with retailer Woolworths, after Lowe’s made a claim for hundreds of millions of dollars for compensation in their failed Masters home improvement business. Woolworth’s recently confirmed the arbitration hearings have begun and are related to the joint business venture between the two companies.

According to Woolworths chief legal officer and company secretary, Richard Dammery, “the dispute resolution provisions of the joint venture agreement survive at termination so any dispute between us should be dealt with in arbitration.” Dammery gave no indication whether Lowe’s had lodged the claim for compensation or damages due to the confidentiality of the joint venture, but said the company is very conscious of continuous disclosure requirements. Dammery believes these have been met.

The fact that the matter is being arbitrated was revealed last week when Woolworths was in Federal Court depending the application submitted by Lowe’s for the appointment of an independent liquidator. This independent liquidator would oversee the “equitable” round up of the joint venture.

Woolworths is seeks to have the application thrown out and for the matter to proceed to arbitration, which it has – at least an extant arbitration, according to Woolworths attorney David Thomas.

Woolworths claims the move by Lowe’s is aimed at securing a better price than the $.33 per share stake it is currently looking at. Lowe’s representatives however state the claim they filed was about being “open and transparent” and good corporate governance. Woolworths further claims Lowe’s gave up its economic interest in the joint venture, but Lowe’s disagrees, claiming it was oppressed by Woolworths, especially in the days leading up to the Masters sale agreement.