European private equity advisor Permira Advisers Ltd’s Â£940 million indicative offer for WH Smith plc, the London parent of Whitcoulls in New Zealand, has been followed by a Â£126 million turnaround to a Â£72 million pretax half-year loss after writeoffs.
The bid, at 375p/share, was 44% above last Friday’s closing price and was quickly followed by a 90p price rise at the start of this week.
But today the struggling London-based book retailer announced Â£75 million of exceptional charges in its home market (including Â£45 million in stock writeoffs), a Â£61 million loss on the sale of its US business (including Â£39 million on goodwill), and confirmed the sale process for its Asia & South Pacific business was under way.
Permira is a European private equity advisor, and advises 18 in-house funds. It bought the Blue Star group in New Zealand & Australia, including Whitcoulls, from US Office Products in 2001. Whitcoulls has 59 stores.