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Bang & Olufsen would listen if approached by buyer: chairman

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Luxury TV and speaker maker Bang & Olufsen BO.CO would listen if approached by a buyer, chairman Ole Andersen told newspaper Borsen, following three earnings warnings this year.

FILE PHOTO - The logo of consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen is seen at a shop in Vienna, Austria, July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

“If we would get an enquiry, we would listen, but it would of course have to be discussed with the shareholders,” Chairman Ole Andersen said.

“After having to revise down our earnings on three occasions, the warning bells start to ring,” Andersen said, when asked if a sale of the company had become more relevant in recent months.

A Bang & Olufsen spokesman confirmed the quotes to Reuters, but stressed that the company had not put itself up for sale.

B&O’s biggest shareholder is Chinese investor Qi Jianhong, who owns just under 15 percent in the company through his Sparkle Roll companies, Refinitiv data showed.

In April 2016, Bang & Olufsen rejected a takeover bid by Sparkle Roll.

Bang & Olufsen had initially forecast 10% sales growth for the financial year that ended in May but slashed its outlook three times in six months with sales eventually falling 14%.

Financial trouble at the Danish firm, whose televisions can sell for up to 96,000 Danish crowns ($14,252), comes as subdued consumer spending has hit retailers across Europe and also reflects slow progress on B&O’s turnaround plan, including fewer new products.

The company is trying to revamp its distribution network from a wholesale model to a more retail-driven focus in a bid to boost sales.

It has forecast sales growth this year on new products and store openings in major cities.

Shares in B&O have slumped almost 80% since a peak in January 2018.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by Jason Neely