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Why has the Woolworths Limited share price suddenly rebounded?

Credit: BIGW

What: This week the share price of Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) is notably higher. As shareholders received news that Mr Roger Corbett had been appointed as an advisor to the Board from 1 December 2015.

So What: With the share price declining by 22% in the past 12 months shareholders will certainly be hoping that Mr Corbett can turn the group’s fortunes around. His role has been described as advising “on issues relating to the performance of the Company and business improvement opportunities”.

Mr Corbett has plenty of relevant experienced for the task considering his previous involvement with the group which included Managing Director (MD) of Big W from 1990, MD of Retail from 1997 and MD of the whole company from 1999 until 2006.

He also has board member experience at The Reserve Bank of Australia, Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ), Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (ASX: MYX) and US retailing giant Walmart.

Now What: Perhaps the biggest hurdle standing in the way of Corbett’s ability to turn around Woolworths is the possibility that the company is snapped up by an acquirer.

According to reports and as outlined here, US-based private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Blackstone are believed to have run the numbers and made an approach to the board of Woolworths for its Big W chain.

While the biggest issue facing Woolworths is arguably how it will deal with the competitive threat of Aldi, the ongoing losses at the start-up home improvement venture Masters continues to concern many followers of the stock. The possibility of a takeover approach for the group could lead others parties to make a move including Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), which owns the successful Bunnings brand and could be keen to secure many of Masters’ “big box” property sites.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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