Booker to sell Agatha Christie
Wednesday 03 June 1998
The troubled food distribution group is on the verge of disposing of its 64 per cent stake in Agatha Christie Limited, the business which controls the copyright on titles such as Murder on the Orient Express and The Mousetrap, the long-running play.
Jonathan Taylor, Booker's chairman, said the stake would be sold to a new owner "who can add value to it". An announcement is expected in the next few days.
Booker bought into Agatha Christie Limited in the 1960s as a way of reducing its tax bill. Most of the copyrights, which earned a total profit of pounds 1.5m last year, run until early into the next century.
The move came as Booker issued its third profits warning of the year and announced a wide-ranging disposal programme, which will see the company concentrating on its food distribution businesses.
Under the terms of the restructuring, the company will sell its fish processing division, its food distribution joint ventures in Portugal and Poland, as well as getting out of its Arbor Acres poultry breeding and Marine Harvest McConnell, its salmon farming operation.
Booker has received several expressions of interest in the businesses. The proceeds will initially be used to pay down debt though they could also be returned to shareholders.
Mr Taylor said financial and trade buyers had also made offers for its food distribution businesses. "Although we believe the value is in their development, we have an obligation to our shareholders to evaluate those offers," he said.
Booker shares slumped 44p to 248.5p as investors concentrated on the company's warning that profits in the first half of 1998 would be lower than they were last year.
Analysts were also disappointed that Booker, whose share price has been buoyed by takeover speculation, had quashed hopes of a bid.
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 2 Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Israel-Gaza crisis: YouTube footage shows scale of destruction after 50 days of shelling
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...
£40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...