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Wesfarmers to reveal fate of Homebase by end of week

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Wednesday 23 May 2018

Wesfarmers to reveal fate of Homebase by end of week

(Sharecast News) - Wesfarmers, the largest private employer in Australia, will reveal the fate of Homebase, the UK's second-largest DIY chain, within days as the Perth-based group brings its disastrous UK retail experiment to a close.
Wesfarmers has received three separate bids for Homebase from turnaround investment firms Alteri Investors, Endless and Hilco, according to Sky News.

Alteri, which previously owned Austin Reed, and Hilco, which bought HMV out of administration in 2013, were said to be in the lead for the potential acquisition of Homebase.

For its part, Wesfarmers was reported to be mulling over its options with its advisors and would make an announcement regarding its preferred bidder before Friday.

Alteri and Hilco will reportedly look to restructure Homebase and close a "significant number" of its 220 UK stores, putting a chunk of the 11,000 British jobs it creates at risk in the process.

Homebase, which is expected to transfer to its new owner with a "dowry" of at least £75m, has been nothing short of a failure for Wesfarmers and was said to be losing almost £20m a month.

Wesfarmers launched its search for a buyer earlier in the year, just two years after finalising its £340m takeover of the DIY chain.

The ASX-listed firm vowed to update investors on Homebase's future in early June.

As of 1600 BST, Wesfarmers shares had ticked up 0.22% to AUD44.76 each.

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