Last week, Woolworths laid out its plan to exit the failed home improvement business that has been a joint venture (JV) with Lowe's.
Lowe's for its part, seeking the payment for its ownership stake that Woolworths is contractually obliged to pay out, is clearly unhappy with the stall laid out by Woolworths and/or its lack of involvement in the process and has sought legal oversight of the exit process.
Which is why Lowe’s yesterday filed "a motion requesting that the Federal Court of Australia appoint a liquidator to oversee the equitable and orderly wind up of the Masters Joint Venture vehicle, Hydrox Holdings, as part of a liquidation process that has been initiated by Woolworths".
Lowe’s also alleges that Woolworths "has conducted the affairs of Hydrox in a manner oppressive and unfairly prejudicial to Lowe’s, including by wrongfully and in bad faith seeking to terminate its joint venture agreement and by seeking to exclude Lowe’s from the management of Hydrox".
Lowe's official statement says: "Despite every effort to reach a fair resolution with its JV partner, Lowe’s has been left with no other option but to seek the guidance of the court to achieve an equitable and orderly wind-up of the Masters business. Lowe’s has acted in good faith at every stage in both the development and operation of Masters, and has been at all times an engaged investor, a committed partner and proud employer. On the other hand, Woolworths has engaged in oppressive conduct, including by invalidly and in bad faith attempting to terminate the JV."