WH Smith to acquire US company Marshall Retail Group
WH Smith is to acquire Marshall Retail Group for $400 million as it looks to expand its presence in the US airport travel retail market.
The transaction will “broadly double” the size of WH Smith’s international travel business through the addition of 170 stores in North America, 59 of which are inside airports.
Carl Cowling, who is due to become WH Smith’s group chief executive on 1 November, said: “MRG is a highly successful US travel retailer with a fast-growing airport business. This acquisition will accelerate the growth of our international travel business and combined with InMotion, the market leading digital accessories airport retailer that we acquired last year, will significantly enhance our scale and growth opportunities in the US, a large and fast growing travel retail market.”
WH Smith will fund the purchase by raising £155 million through an underwritten equity placing. The remainder will be financed through a new debt facility.
The company has also announced that pre-tax profit for the year to 31 August edged up 1% to £135 million while group sales increased by 11%. Sales in the travel business rose by 22% but sales in WH Smith’s high street stores were down 2% in the period.
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