The HMV Group announced this morning (29th June) its disposal of Waterstone’s had officially completed following a vote by shareholders at a general meeting held last Thursday. James Daunt, owner of independent London book chain Daunts, will now take over as m.d. of the bookseller. Mamut paid £53m for the bookseller, £40m of which has been paid with the remainder being paid on 31st October 2011.
Daunt said: “While we would not want to comment on the specifics of our strategy prior to a comprehensive review of the business, our central aim will be to work with Waterstone’s booksellers to develop the bookshops as engaging places that reflect the distinct tastes of their customers. I am thrilled that the acquisition has been finalised and look forward to getting to work on this important project.”
In an email to staff, he said: "Waterstone's is a great company with a rich heritage and believe that it has an exciting future. You will know that I am a bookseller and have been one for 21 years. Like many of you I believe we are at our best when focused on books and bookselling. It is my intention to put these elements back at every level of the business and I hope that you will join me to realise this ambition.
"I know that the past few months have been difficult, and that the company has seen many changes in direction and focus in recent times. It is my absolute intention that from now on we will have one clear shared goal - to make our bookshops excellent and inspirational places in which to browse, shop and work."
Mamut said: “We are delighted to have received shareholder approval from HMV which has allowed us to complete the acquisition of Waterstone’s and its unique brand. Waterstone’s enjoys an excellent bookselling heritage which we will seek to develop in repositioning the business towards an approach which is progressively tailored to the particular demands of local communities."