W H Smith Retreats from Distribution Fray

05 March 2001

Sorely mauled by last year’s distribution fracas with a number of powerful UK publishing groups [WAMN: 04-Jan-01], retail and media distribution giant W H Smith has put its distribution arm up for sale.

The move follows – and could well have been driven by – the renewal last week of a three-year distribution contract with Frontline Publishing, said to contribute around £12 million to WHS’ annual profits. Frontline represents several large UK publishers, among them Haymarket, Emap and BBC Magazines.

WHS insiders claim that a number of potential buyers, mostly financial institutions, are interested. Details of the sale will be distributed within the next six weeks and word is that WHS hopes to raise up to £300 million.

News source: The Times (London)