Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

WH Smith Selling off Hodder for Pounds 223m

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

WH Smith Selling off Hodder for Pounds 223m

Article excerpt

Retailer wh Smith announced an "important milestone" in its revival yesterday after agreeing to sell its Hodder Headline book publishing arm for pounds 223m.

Chief executive Kate Swann said the sale to French publishing house Hachette Books would help simplify the structure of the UK group, which has seen sales wilt in the face of strong competition from supermarket rivals.

As previously announced, investors will benefit from the proposed disposal as the company said it planned to return pounds 207m of the proceeds ( equivalent to 85p a share ( to shareholders.

Hodder Headline is home to many best-selling and award-winning authors, including Tom Clancy, Martina Cole and thriller writer James Patterson. It also published footballer Paul Gascoigne's recent autobiography.

The business, which generated sales of pounds 144m in the year to August 31, was founded as Headline in 1987 and acquired Hodder & Stoughton in the following year before being bought by WH Smith for pounds 185m in 1999. …

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