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October 30, 2018updated 31 Oct 2018 9:38am

WH Smith to buy US travel retailer InMotion for $198m

UK-based WH Smith has entered an agreement to purchase 100% of the share capital of US airport-based digital accessories retailer InMotion for $198m.

British retailer WH Smith has entered into an agreement to purchase 100% of the share capital of US airport-based digital accessories retailer InMotion for $198m.

The deal is expected to expand WH Smith’s international business into the travel retail market across the US, as well as offer additional opportunities to increase its presence in digital accessory sales outside North America.

Founded in 1998, InMotion operates 114 stores across 43 US airports. The company expects to deliver sales of approximately $166m for the financial year ending 31 December 2018.

WH Smith Group CEO Stephen Clarke said: “The acquisition of InMotion is an exciting value creation opportunity for the WH Smith Group and marks a major step in our international travel retail growth strategy.

“It doubles the size of our international travel business and provides us with attractive growth opportunities.

“The travel retail market in North America for digital accessories offers significant growth potential. As the market leader, recognised for its best-in-class customer service, InMotion is well-positioned to take advantage of that potential.

“It doubles the size of our international travel business and provides us with attractive growth opportunities.”

“In addition, InMotion provides us with a scalable platform to launch the WH Smith airport format into the US, the world’s largest travel retail market for news, books and convenience products.”

Currently, WH Smith Travel business generates two-thirds of group operating profits. The company noted that international travel forms a key part of the group’s future growth and value creation.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including US regulatory approval, and is expected to complete before the year-end.

Following completion of the transaction, InMotion’s existing infrastructure and business development capabilities will support the launch and growth of WH Smith’s airport format in North America.

To finance the transaction, the company has raised a four-year term loan of £200m from its four existing facility banks, which are Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, HSBC UK Bank, and Santander Corporate & Investment Banking.