M&S scraps US supermarkets sale
Friday 15 August 2003
Marks & Spencer has abandoned its attempts to offload its US supermarkets business more than two years after first putting it on the market.
The high street retailer said the latest round of talks to sell Kings Super Markets had broken down after the buyer - known to be Gristede's Foods, a New York-based rival - failed to raise the £75m-plus asking price.
It is the third time M&S has been forced to shelve the sale of its last US asset because prospective buyers have been unable to secure financial backing - with two of the three problems involving Gristede's. Roger Holmes, the group's chief executive, said: "In the current US climate it has not been possible for interested parties to raise sufficient funds to purchase Kings at what we perceive to be a fair price." He said M&S would hang on to the chain and try to revive its profitability.
The group's failure to sell Kings highlights the differing appetites for supermarket stores on either side of the Atlantic. In the UK, four supermarket groups are falling over each other to acquire Safeway in a deal worth more than £3bn while M&S cannot offload 27 sites in New York and New Jersey. Analysts said M&S had only put the sale on hold until debt and equity markets in the US picked up. Kings has a net book value of £65m, prompting analysts at JP Morgan to suggest M&S would seek a minimum sale tag of £75m. David Stoddart, at Teather & Greenwood, said: "In the context of the size of their balance sheet, the failure to sell the business is immaterial."
Mr Holmes added: "Although Kings is not central to our strategy, we believe that maximising shareholder value will be achieved by working with the senior management team to develop the business and drive financial performance."
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...