Borders to sell Australasian business

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Borders Group Inc. said it will sell its Australia/New Zealand/Singapore businesses to A&R Whitcoulls for $110 million.

A&R Whitcoulls is the leading Australasian retailer of books and related products and is owned by private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners. It owns and operates more than 260 stores.

As part of the agreement, ARW will have the right to use the Borders brand throughout Australia, New Zealand and Singapore through a brand licensing arrangement.

The deal “permits Borders to forgo further investment in these businesses, and provides the company with a significant cash infusion to further reduce debt, which is one of Borders key financial initiatives,” said George Jones, group CEO at Borders, in statement. He added that Australia/New Zealand/Singapore businesses have performed well.

Earlier this week, Borders said it had eliminated 274 corporate positions as part of an aggressive plan to reduce annual expenses by $120 million and improve the company's bottom line.

The multichannel book merchant said in March that it would explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of certain divisions or of the entire company.

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