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Stuart Rose: “There was some vigorous grasping of the lapels”

Rose and Green are long-standing friends from Rose’s Arcadia days. But when Rose was pinched to head up beleaguered M&S in 2004, in the middle of a hostile takeover bid by Green, the pair became business rivals.

Green’s bid was turned down by M&S’ shareholders but the Topshop tycoon was not to be put off. And his second hostile takeover attempt on M&S nearly led to a fracas.

Rose reminisces: “There was a man with firm views, here was another man — myself — who felt this company should not disappear into private hands."

The M&S boss continues: “It did get quite physical one morning on the pavement outside Baker Street. He didn’t actually smack me but there was, how should I put it, some vigorous grasping of the lapels.”

Green has mentioned a similar incident after Rose was first appointed to M&S. Four days after the announcement, he was walking past the M&S offices when he spotted Rose’s car.  “I opened the car door and his driver went this color,” he says in an interview with the Business Mirror, pointing at his white shirt. “So I said, ‘I thought you wanted to be an owner?’ Stuart said, ‘We both couldn’t be boss.’”

The following month, Rose persuaded M&S shareholders to reject Green’s offer.

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