A&R Whitcoulls Group Holdings said this morning it would not be pursuing an acquisition of the Borders book chain.
The shock announcement has caught the industry by surprise, because Pacific Equity Partners, the parent of A&R Whitcoulls, was considered the front-runner to acquire Borders’ Australasian operations.
The companies had been working towards a part-cash part-scrip merger but have been unable to agree on terms acceptable to A&R Whitcoulls shareholders.
In a statement released today, A&R Whitcoulls said it was now unlikely a transaction between the two companies would proceed.
With PEP and Whitcoulls out of the race, the only remaining contender is New Zealand’s independent Paper Plus franchise operation.
Paper Plus revealed late last year it had formed a joint venture with an as yet unidentified organisation based in Australia or a third country.