Tuesday 20 March 2018

Waterstones enters takeover talks with Elliott Advisors, according to reports

The deal would mark seven years since it last shifted into new ownership.

A Waterstones store at Picadilly Circus in London (Tim Ireland/PA)
A Waterstones store at Picadilly Circus in London (Tim Ireland/PA)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

High street bookseller Waterstones is poised for a new chapter after reportedly launching takeover talks with Elliott Advisors.

The US hedge fund has entered a short window of exclusivity in which to thrash out a deal for the retail chain, which has drawn interest from a clutch of bidders, according to Sky News.

The deal would mark seven years since it was snapped up by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut from CD, DVD and video game retailer HMV Group.

Waterstones faced an uncertain future when it changed hands in June 2011, but fears the e-book would spark a downward turn in traditional book sales have proved unfounded.

Speculation that Mr Mamut is looking to turn the page on his Waterstones investment comes after the firm booked an 82% hike in annual profits to £18 million for the year ending April 29, up from £9.9 million over the same period the year before.

The firm launched four new shops and 21 new cafes during the 52-week period, bringing its total estate to 274.

While capital investment in the business rose 7% to £9.6 million, it also closed five shops and saw revenues slip 1% to £404 million.

The price tag on the near 40-year-old bookseller was likely to be significantly lower than the £250 million eyed last Autumn, an insider told Sky News.

While Elliott Advisers is better know as an activist investor, the firm is no stranger to the UK high street and still holds a stake in Game Digital.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News