3i Eyes Rich Slice of WH Smith
Hirst, Clayton, The Independent (London, England)
BRITAIN'S largest venture capital group, 3i, is putting together a bid for WH Smith's newspaper and magazine distribution arm, which is valued at up to pounds 250m.
The company is the latest name to express interest in the business, which WH Smith is attempting to sell after its acrimonious dispute with Britain's magazine publishers. The retailer will next week draw up a shortlist of between three and five bidders.
The business has attracted significant interest from the VC community. The other major private equity interest comes from CVC and ABN Amro Capital, which have teamed up with former WH Smith finance director Keith Hamill and the retailer's former operations director Terry Reilly.
Also expected to make it to the shortlist is Mike Kemble, who runs his own distribution business. He is thought to have secured private finance backing.
Other firms that have expressed an interest include Hachette, the French media company, Hays, the quoted business services and logistics company, and distribution group TNT. …