Waterstone plans to "return chain to stock-holding roots"

Waterstone plans to "return chain to stock-holding roots"

Tim Waterstone is reportedly assembling a management team for Waterstone's with a view of returning the chain to its stock-holding roots, as speculation mounts about a bid.

The weekend press extensively reported on the future of Waterstone's after HMV Group announced on Friday [25th March] it was seeking "strategic options" for the book chain.

The Daily Mail reported on Saturday that Waterstone’s founder Tim Waterstone and his partners were entering into “exclusive talks” with the HMV Group in an attempt to buy the chain with Russian millionaire tycoon Alexander Mamut. The Russian owns a 6.1% stake in the HMV Group and it would be the sixth time Waterstone would have attempted to regain control of the bookseller he started in 1982.

The Guardian also reported Waterstone would take a senior role in the company were the duo’s bid successful. It said: "Mamut and Waterstone have been assembling a management team with the vision of returning Waterstone's to its roots as a stock-holding book chain with knowledgeable staff." However, the Mail's piece suggested he would not take a daily role if his bid was successful.

The Independent
reported Mamut would could use cash from the imminent flotation of his mobile phone retail business, Euroset, to bid for Waterstone's.

The Mirror reported the group’s shares jumped by 4% after the news the bookseller may be put up for sale.

Other names circulating as possible bidders in the newspaper include restructuring firm Hilco and James Heneage, founder of book chain Ottakar's, which was bought by Waterstone's.

A possible management buyout by Dominic Myers, as suggested by publishers to The Bookseller on Friday, has also been repeated in the national press.