Waterstones owner and Pernod Ricard investor joins Majestic ‘race’

An investment fund whose US parent company owns a stake in Pernod Ricard, and who owns UK bookstore Waterstones, has emerged as a new entrant in the race to bid for Majestic, it has been reported

According to Sky News, investment firm Elliott Advisors, the UK wing of American activist hedge fund Elliot Management, has lodged a bid for Majestic’s 200 outlets, joining rival bids from OpCapita and Japanese-backed investment group Fortress for the wine specialist.

The UK division already owns Waterstones, which it bought from Mamut last April, with the parent company last week agreeing to buy American bookseller Barnes & Noble for more than $680m (£534m).

In December the ‘activist’ hedge-fund took a stake “in excess of 2.5%” in Pernod Ricard, saying the French drinks group had “significant potential for improvement” but that Pernod Ricard’s track record in merger and acquisitions had been “disappointing,”

Ahead of the publication of its results tomorrow, profits at the wine retailer were predicted to slide by more than a third to around £11 million this year.

Last month, activist investment firm Gatemore Capital Management, which has been snapping up shares in Majestic Wine, was understood to be pushed the board to sell the ‘fundamentally strong’ retail and commercial business intact, rather than stripping the Majestic retail and commercial business piecemeal for assets in order to grow the Naked Wine business as first revealed on 25 March.

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