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Wesfarmers seeks fast-track exit from the UK
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Wesfarmers seeks fast-track exit from the UK


Wesfarmers, the Australian owner of Homebase, has asked prospective buyers of the ailing business to submit initial offers today as it sought a fast-track exit from its disastrous foray into the UK retail sector, according to Sky News reports.


Sky News has stated that sources close to the seller say it is assembling a large financial package to hand to any new owner to help contend with its huge losses.


The value of the dowry has not been finalised, but one insider said it could easily exceed £100m.


Homebase, which is part of Wesfarmers' Bunnings UK and Ireland division, is expected to lose approximately £190m in this financial year on revenues of roughly £1bn, according to the source.


Sky News has also revealed that Alvarez & Marsal, the restructuring specialist, has been drafted in to advise Wesfarmers on alternatives to a sale, including a mechanism that would see it closing scores of Homebase outlets.


Wesfarmers began approaching potential buyers of the DIY chain several weeks ago, just two years after completing a £340m takeover.


Investment bankers at Lazard are handling the sale discussions, with turnaround investors such as Endless and Hilco reportedly interested in a takeover.


Homebase employed nearly 12,000 people in Britain across an estate of almost 250 stores at the end of last year.


The move to unwind Wesfarmers takeover of the UK's second-biggest DIY chain comes less than three months before the Sydney-listed company has said it will update investors on the results of its strategic review.

Homebase was intended to be a launchpad from which the Australian retailer would take on B&Q in a battle for supremacy in the DIY market.


However, Wesfarmers' strategy has backfired spectacularly in the last 18 months‎, forcing it to write off more than £500m after it ditched some of Homebase's most popular business lines.


The full Sky News report can be viewed by clicking here

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