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WHSmith acquires InMotion in £155m deal

WHSmith has announced the signing of an agreement for the acquisition of InMotion, a pure play travel retailer for $198m (£155m).

InMotion is the largest airport-based digital accessories retailer in North America. Established in 1998, it operates a concession portfolio of 114 stores across 43 airports in the United States.

WHSmith said the transaction marks a “significant step” in its international travel growth strategy and sees InMotion as a “strongly performing business in a category with attractive growth prospects”. The acquisition also doubles the size of WH Smith’s international travel business.

Stephen Clarke, group chief executive, WHSmith, commented: “InMotion is a highly successful pure play travel retailer in the world’s largest travel retail market. The acquisition of InMotion is an exciting value creation opportunity for the WHSmith 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. In addition, InMotion provides us with a scalable platform to launch the WHSmith airport format into the US, the world’s largest travel retail market for news, books and convenience products.”

Clarke said that WHSmith see “significant potential” to accelerate growth outside of the US using the InMotion format.

Jeremy Smith, president & CEO of InMotion, added: “The team at InMotion are delighted to be joining such an iconic business with a high growth international division. Working together, we look forward to combining our expertise in travel retail to grow the InMotion business further both within and outside of the US, while at the same time accelerating WHSmith’s international growth strategy.”

The completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions including US regulatory approval, is expected before the end of calendar year 2018.

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