`Second time lucky' hope of Rymans' buyer
Theo Paphitis acquired the stationery store chain on Saturday for about £5m, less than a third of what bankers to Pentos were hoping to raise. KPMG said Mr Paphitis's offer was the best of up to nine offers.
Mr Paphitis and the 600 staff at Rymans, whose jobs he hopes to save, will pray that he is more successful than when he briefly ran AT Trust, which had interests including a chain of shops selling plastic policemen's helmets and other souvenirs to London tourists.
AT Trust was a fast-growing conglomerate for a while in the late 1980s. It combined the rights to pitch-side advertising at Cardiff Arms Park with a company that made cookery programmes for television and owned a hotel in the Wirral.
AT, formerly Astra, Trust made an acquisition too far, however, when it launched a hostile bid for Splash, which owned the Cerex gift shop chain.
There were plans to float Cerex off from AT Trust on the unlisted securities market but stock discrepancies at Splash, which led to a £1m extraordinary write-off and a court wrangle with Stoy Hayward, Splash's auditors, proved the undoing of the entire company.
After a fight over how to sort out the mess, Mr Paphitis was thrown off the board. Nine months later the company called in the receivers. Mr Paphitis bought the sports advertising company back from AT Trust's receivers and subsequently acquired NAG Telecom, a cellular phone supplier and the vehicle for the Rymans acquisition.
NAG has had concessions in seven Rymans stores for more than a year, and Mr Paphitis said he intended to steer the shops away from their stationery roots towards higher value electronic goods, including mobile telephones as well as such things as electronic organisers and other high-technology office equipment. The sale of Rymans is the last of Pentos's three divisions to have been sold since KPMG was appointed on 1 March. Barclays and Midland, Pentos's bankers, have recouped £50m from the £70m they were owed.
It was their decision not to provide a further £20m of funding that pushed the group into receivership.
Dillons, the book chain, was sold to Thorn EMI for £36m within days. The office furniture business was sold two weeks ago for £9.2m to Bullough, the furniture and fridges group.
The sale of Rymans is thought to have the support of its franchisees who were beaten in their bid to buy out the shops by the NAG bid.
- 1 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
- 5 Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
Scottish independence: Scots of Corby take matters into their own hands in mock referendum - and deliver overwhelming verdict
Protesters fight to save Arturo, the polar bear sweltering in baking hot zoo
Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Supermoon 2014 in pictures: Moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Executive - Ce...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - 6 Months Fix...
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...