PracticeConsultingWH Smith business going to former FD

WH Smith business going to former FD

A team led by Keith Hamill, former finance director at WH Smith, has emerged as the likely buyer for the High Street retailer's newspaper distribution business, after the company agreed to sell the division for £215m.

Hamill, who quit WH Smith last year, after failing to become chief executive, has the backing of ABN Amro Private Equity. If the sale is confirmed, he will become the non-executive chairman of the new business, with former WH Smith operations director Terry Reilly as chief executive.

‘For sale’ signs were put up at the newspaper distribution division in April after a dispute with the UK’s newspaper publishers, who blocked a planned national distribution deal with Tesco and Safeway.

John Warren, WH Smith finance director, said the company would use the money to expand into Europe, and ‘perhaps make acquisitions’.

But Hamill may face competition from Lloyd Wrigglesworth, the former managing director of the distribution business, who is trying to organise a buyout of the business.

Analysts had valued the newspaper distribution business at between £200m and £250m.

Links

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