PERTH, Australia—Like a shark sensing blood in the water, Angelo Abela, owner of Sexyland, a chain of Melbourne-based adult shops, is making an aggressive bid to take over Adultshop.com, the publicly traded Perth-based adult website that is struggling through hard times.
Abela, a former car exhaust salesman, has made a takeover bid of $5.2 million for the online retailer whose market capitalization had fallen from $600 million to $3 million in the past decade. Abela also claims that Adultshop.com is $8 million in debt.
According to SmartCompany.com, “While Abela is currently overseas on three weeks holiday and could not be contacted for comment he has billed his bid as a chance for Adultshop.com shareholders to "exit an underperforming company."
Adultshop has been performing so poorly of late that its founder, Malcolm Day, who controls 15 percent of company but whose financial stake has fallen from almost $100 million to about $400,000, has floated the idea of pursuing entirely different business models, including a move into mining.
"I understand mining,” he said in an interview in September. “I used to be a surveyor engineer so I understand it, but ... if the company pursued other avenues, then the board would probably step down and the appropriate board would go on, with the appropriate expertise."
Indeed, as Perth Now indicates, “Adultshop.com was born out of Western Minerals, which Mr. Day used as a shelf company to list on the ASX after acquiring the internet rights to the Barbarellas name and trademark.”
Day also has mentioned the possibility of taking adultshop.com private. “The lack of regulation of censorship laws, in regards to the sale of X-rated films throughout Australia, has stifled the growth of the company, and that's why we're looking at privatizing,” he said.
In an outreach to adultshop shareholders, however, Sexyland makes a case for staying in the adult sector, arguing its “success is attributed to its friendly yet professional customer service coupled with warehouse-sized stores which have been uniquely designed and decorated to make shopping at Sexyland a fun and exciting experience.”
According to The Age, “The company lists one of its top products as a device called a Muffin Mucker.”
Day is expected to oppose the bid but has said he will continue to review it.