Ottaker's pushes ahead with float after talks with US book giant

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The Independent Online
OTTAKAR'S, the book retailer, yesterday confirmed it had held "informal discussions" with its American rival Barnes & Noble "about mutual areas of interest" but said it remained fully committed to its stock market flotation. The company is coming tothe market next month via a placing with institutions that will raise pounds 18m and value the 47-strong chain at pounds 30m.

James Heneage, the managing director, said: "There was no approach for the business, nor will there be. We will remain independent and we will float."

It is thought that they centred on a possible joint venture in certain aspects of the business. This could be Ottakar's using Barnes & Noble's expertise in developing larger stores.

Mr Heneage admitted that there was nothing to stop Barnes & Noble buying a stake in the business after its float.

Mr Heneage was speaking as Ottakar's published its pathfinder prospectus, which showed pre-tax profits last year rose 77 per cent to pounds 2m. Sales grew 63 per cent to pounds 38m.