John Smiths out of race to buy Blackwell's

<p>Fiona Fraser</p><p>John Smith&amp;Son is no longer in the running to buy embattled rival Blackwell's, which is set to stay in family hands under Julian Blackwell.</p><p>John Smiths was believed to have reached the final stages of negotiations to acquire most of Blackwell's academic shops, but sources said that the bid had been rejected in favour of retaining the company under Blackwell's family ownership.</p><p>Shareholder Julian Blackwell is said to be financially backing a new business plan, bringing in Vince Gunn, a former executive at Mothercare, M&S and Lunn Poly, to lead the manage...

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