FishbowlNY FishbowlDC LostRemote InsideMobileApps InsideSocialGames TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser MediaJobsDaily UnBeige

Posts Tagged ‘David Roche’

Channel 4 Chief Inches Closer to Borders UK Deal

As per Publishing News (and reported earlier this week) the entrepreneur Luke Johnson and his private equity firm Risk Capital Partners was widely expected to take control of Borders, keeping the current CEO David Roche at the helm, closing fewer than 10 stores and retaining the Borders name. Johnson is understood to have taken soundings on Roche from industry insiders this week – the sort of move that is only made when all the deal requirements are in place. One observer told PN: “Although he’s obviously acting out of self-interest and wants to make money, he’s clearly interested in bookselling as a sector. He’s imaginative and feisty, well-regarded when it comes to relatively small scale private equity investments.”

Analyst Richard Ratner at Seymour Pierce described Johnson as “a good egg. He’s got a good reputation and he’s got good people with him. He’ll buy something if it’s got potential.” Insiders say that as Chair of Channel 4, Johnson has seen the potential to boost book sales through Richard & Judy. Those who know him say that he cares about books and their cultural importance, and that he sees Borders “as a business that matters.” One added: “He sees Borders as a strong intrinsic business, one that doesn’t need to be broken up. And because he cares about it, he’ll be willing to accept slightly lower financial returns than in some of his other ventures.”

Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

Borders UK Eyed by Channel 4 Chief

The Bookseller reports that Risk Capital Partners,the private equity firm owned by Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson (left), is understood to be backing David Roche‘s management buyout of Borders‘ UK and Ireland business. While the deal has not been finalized, a decision on the chain’s future is believed to be imminent.

Johnson is understood to be keen to retain Borders’ identity and its commitment to promoting independent publishers. Despite a difficult market for high street booksellers, Risk Capital Partners is believed to be confident that it can cut costs at Borders and turn the business around. While some closures of underperforming stores are expected if the deal goes through, it is believed that the private equity firm would retain most of Borders’ 70 branches. One retail analyst suggested Johnson was a “viable” buyer for the business. “He runs a very well set up private equity firm,” he said. “He’s got great contacts in the City and a very good track record.”

Highlights of the BA Conference

If you missed out on the Booksellers Association‘s annual Conference in Harrogate, Publishing News has the lowdown in a big way:

Former Ottakar’s CEO Linked to Borders Bid

The Bookseller reports that Ottakar’s founder James Heneage has been linked with a bid for Borders‘ UK superstores, while former Hammicks chief Trevor Goul-Wheeker is believed to be eyeing its Books Etc division. Industry observers have mooted that Heneage could partner with current Borders CEO David Roche to buy out the chain’s 42 UK and Ireland stores. The pair previously worked together on a management buyout of Ottakar’s that was scuppered by a higher bid from Waterstone’s.

No venture capitalist or trade buyer has swooped since Borders US announced a “strategic review” of all its international businesses last month. One source said that the 50m pound price tag being touted was putting off pre-emptive bidders: “The price is a problem—it’s not worth half of that.”

Possibilities for Borders UK Buyout

Sir Richard Branson is considering a 50m pound bid for the Borders books chain in the UK, in what would be a major expansion of his retail operations. According to a report in trade magazine Retail Week, the billionaire tycoon has requested detailed information on the 70-shop chain from Merrill Lynch, the investment bank which is handling the sale.

But Branson faces quite a lot of competition, according to Publishing News. Industry observers believe that David Roche, Border’s CEO on the UK side, will try and mount an MBO for the company following last week’s shock announcement from its parent company that it intended to sell its UK, Australia and New Zealand operations to concentrate on the domestic US market. Speculation increased this week that a breakup of the company is likely too and that former Ottakar’s boss James Heneage may find himself involved, too. One observer said: “David would love to take the company – he’s ambitious and well-regarded, and is probably one of the more capable people to be able to front an MBO. Borders US has to sell it within a time window in order to save face, because they’ve gone so public on it and in order to keep the UK team engaged. If David can get the backing, he might get it at a good price.” Roche himself simply said: “All options are open.”

Observers point out that an MBO will, obviously, require backing. Analyst David Stoddart at Teather & Greenwood said: “I can’t believe that the private equity fraternity hasn’t had a good look at HMV and drawn their own conclusions. They’ll have to make an assessment of the exit price they’re likely to get after three to five years.” Figures of between �50m and �70m are being suggested for the group, with Richard Ratner at Seymour Pierce saying: “I don’t think it will go for very high money and it could be broken up. An MBO is possible. Apart from WHSmith cherry picking, you’ve got to rule Smiths out. Waterstone’s might be interested in the odd store I suppose.”

And Yet More Changes at Borders, Too

As newly installed CEO George Jones continues his acclimation to Borders company culture, he’s putting his stamp on the executive suite, too. PW Daily reports that Robert Gruen has been named executive v-p of merchandising and marketing, while Kenneth Armstrong has been appointed executive v-p of U.S. stores. Vin Altruda, president of Borders worldwide, will leave the company at the end of the month. Both Gruen, who starts Feb. 5, and Armstrong, who begins Feb. 26, had previously worked with Jones.

Gruen will oversee all of Borders’ product buying, inventory management, development and execution of merchandising programs as well as being responsible for strategic marketing. Armstrong will be responsible for operations in all of Borders domestic stores. He most recently served as senior v-p and director of store sales for Saks’s Parisian division. And in related news, David Roche, managing director and CEO of Borders U.K., and John Campradt, managing director of Borders Asia Pacific, who
formerly reported to Altruda, will report to Jones.