Waterstone’s bid fails

A bid from Tim Waterstone and PPM Ventures for Waterstones bookstore chain has failed, according to press reports.

HMV Media Group has turned down a £180m (E284m) cash offer from Tim Waterstone and private equity group PPM Ventures for Waterstone’s bookstore chain, the Financial Times reports.

It is understood that the group considered the offer too low and was unhappy with its structure.

Waterstone, who founded the bookstore chain before selling it on, has been attempting to buy back the business for more than a year. He made the offer of £180m a fortnight ago and wanted exclusive negotiating rights for the group by Monday.

HMV Media was formed in 1998 by combining EMI’s HMV music retailer and Dillon’s bookstores with Waterstones of WH Smith Group plc. WH Smith bought the chain in 1989 and Waterstone stepped down as its chief executive in 1993. The newspaper reports that HMV Media has to make proposals to its bank by the end of this month about restructuring its debt. The business has underlying borrowings of about £ 567.6m and is believed to be in danger of breaching banking covenants.