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Home Consortium unfazed by Masters dispute

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 Petrina Berry

The consortium that has struck a deal to buy Masters' property assets says it is unfazed by Woolworths' and Lowe's legal dispute over the wind-up of their failed big box hardware chain.

Home Consortium, which includes companies behind retailers Spotlight and Chemist Warehouse, agreed to buy Masters 61 stores and 21 development sites in a $835 million deal with the chain's majority owner Woolworths last week.

However, US hardware giant Lowe's Companies, which owns a 33 per cent stake in Masters, took Federal Court action against Woolworths on Monday, accusing the supermarket giant of acting in bad faith.

The legal dispute between Lowe's and Woolworths has raised concerns about whether it would disrupt Woolworths' plans to rid itself of Masters.

A spokesman for Home Consortium said the group was not concerned about Lowe's action and believed it would not scupper the deal.

"It's a binding contract," the spokesman said.

"Home Consortium is unfazed by the development with Lowe's, which is a matter between Woolworths and Lowe's to resolve."

Woolworths has previously said the Home Consortium deal was subject to Lowe's consent as it involved the consortium buying Hydrox Holdings, the joint venture company behind Masters.

On Tuesday, the retailer released a brief statement saying the two other deals struck in its exit from home improvement - the sale of Home Timber and Hardware to Metcash and the sale of Masters' stock to GA Australia - were proceeding as planned.

Woolworths is yet to provide further comments.

Home Consortium, led by former USB Australia managing director David Di Pilla, plans to convert the Masters stores into large-format retail centres featuring outlets including Spotlight, Anaconda, Chemist Warehouse, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys.

The group is planning to begin opening the centres from the second quarter of 2017.

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