Retail news round-up on March 10, 2014: Poundland to float with £750m valuation, Tesco finance boss McIlwee set to exit, Morrisons to sell off property, Amazon to develop computer games and Sainsbury’s staff take home £8m windfall.
Poundland set to float with £750m valuation
Poundland’s IPO will be priced at the top end of the 250p to 300p price range by the bankers, valuing the retailer at £750m, The Telegraph reported. One banking source indicated that the shares will be priced at 300p exactly, with a second source suggesting that such was the level of demand the top of the range could be breached.
Interest from institutional investors and hedge funds is said to have been considerable. But the banks running the float – led by Citigroup and JP Morgan – are keen to make sure that the listing is well covered. Poundland’s pricing is set to take place on Wednesday (March 12) morning, with the details due to be announced later that day. If all goes to plan, conditional dealing will begin the next day, with unconditional dealing starting three days later.
Tesco’s finance chief Laurie McIlwee set to exit
Tesco is believed to be preparing the ground for the exit of Laurie McIlwee, its chief financial officer since 2009, Sky News has reported.
McIlwee could leave the retail giant within months. The company is understood to have held discussions at a senior level about McIlwee’s position. McIlwee is said to have an uncomfortable working relationship with the supermarket chain’s chief executive Philip Clarke.
A formal search for a new finance director is not yet thought to be underway, but senior sources said that McIlwee’s departure was now ‘more likely than not’ at some stage this year. If McIlwee does depart, it would represent the latest stage of a sweeping overhaul of the executive management at Tesco.
Morrisons plans to sell off peripheral investment property assets
Morrison is to offload £500m of its £9bn property estate in a bid to appease investors as chief executive Dalton Philips comes out fighting in the face of falling sales, The Telegraph reported. The supermarket group will tell shareholders on Thursday that it plans to sell peripheral investment property assets including goods yards, warehouses and shopping centres. At the same time, Philips will use the retailer’s full-year results to announce a series of price-cutting initiatives to challenge the increasing might of the new wave of discount retailers.
Amazon to develop own computer games
Amazon will develop its own computer games, pitting the online retailer head to head against the likes of Nintendo and Electronic Arts, The Telegraph reported. The business is likely to launch its first games console this year. The retail giant has already dipped a toe into the project, with a game called Air Patriots and the buyout of a Californian gaming company Double Helix. It is now on a hiring spree to recruit industry heavyweights in Seattle and Silicon Valley, as part of plans to turn its fledgling Amazon Games Studios into a major operation.
It is understood that Amazon will be using the original content as ‘bait’, to encourage customers to purchase its new console, and then purchase all their games through the device, from Amazon. Amazon is expected to launch mobile games as well as console games.
Sainsbury’s workers pocket £8m from share scheme
Nearly 11,000 Sainsbury’s workers are set to take home £8m as its two Sharesave plans mature.
The biggest savers in the five year plan are set to bank £10,000 tax-free.
With a share price of £3.38 when the three-year and five-year plans matured, Sainsbury’s staff saw an increase of 68% from the five year plan and 13% from he three year plan on their original savings.