HMV Group confirms Waterstone's up for sale

Waterstone's: put up for sale by HMV Group
Waterstone's: put up for sale by HMV Group

HMV Group, the high-street entertainment retailer, has just confirmed to the City that it is "exploring strategic options" around a potential sale of its book publishing chain Waterstone's.

Today's announcement follows weeks of speculation about the embattled retailer, which has made a series of job cuts and closed 60 stores since the start of the year.

Earlier this month, HMV warned that trading conditions "remain challenging" and had been forced to turn to lenders ahead of publication of its full-year results next month in an attempt to renegotiate terms.

In a statement, HMV said: "In response to press speculation, the board confirms it is exploring strategic options in respect of Waterstone's and HMV Canada. There can be no certainty that any transaction will be concluded.

"The board also confirms that no discussions are taking place with respect to an offer for the group. 

"The group's lending banks continue to be supportive, our banking facilities remain fully available and the group is continuing to maintain a regular and constructive dialogue with its lenders."

The attempted sale follows discussions with banks about the group's position and comes ahead of its full financial year ending in April. A spokesman refused to be drawn on whether any interested parties had already shown an interest or if any timescales had been set.

An update on any potential sale is expected to be made next month.

Waterstone's launched in London 29 years ago and currently trades from more than 300 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and continental Europe (Brussels and Amsterdam).

HMV has been taking guidance from business specialist KPMG’s negotiating team since January, when the retailer was forced to concede weak trading conditions over Christmas might not be the temporary blip it had hoped.

The group’s profit before tax and exceptional items for its financial year were said to be "moderately below market expectations."

Sources told Marketing that HMV profits could in fact be as much as 30% down on the £45m forecast, in the region of £30m to £35m. In addition, due to a combination of changes in what the retailer terms "product mix and other working capital movements", net debt is expected to be "not less than £130m".

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message