Taking a Bath on road to Wembley

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The Independent Online
Luke Johnson and Hugh Osmond, the entrepreneurs who consider themselves potential rescuers for Wembley, have bought into a book manufacturer, Bath Press Group. They are joined by Matthew Allen, who is working with them on the Wembley project. With the backing of City institutions, Johnson and Osmond have bought the company, founded in 1845, for £13m. They intend to float it on the stock market on 13 February. The shares have been placed with institutions and a premium is expected on the 10p placing price.

In the year to March 1995 the company is expected to make profits of more than £2m on a turnover of £32m. The company produces 27 million books a year, specialising in high-quality titles such as David Attenborough's The Private Life of Plants.

Two of the three main shareholders of Bath Press were keen to sell their holdings for cash when a trade buyer recently approached the company. However, Roy Hill, the chief executive, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years and is a major shareholder, wanted to keep shares in the business. He is taking 75 per cent of his consideration in shares. He will stay on as chief executive, while Tony Fisher, chairman, is becoming part-time chairman. Hugh Osmond and Matthew Allen will go on to the board.

Other companies brought to market by Johnson and Osmond include Pizza Express, Crabtree Group and the restaurant chain My Kinda Town.