Shoppers Stop To Sell Controlling Stake In Crossword To Franchise Partners

A customer picks out a book in a book store. (Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg)

Shoppers Stop To Sell Controlling Stake In Crossword To Franchise Partners

Shoppers Stop Ltd. has agreed to sell a controlling stake in its fully owned subsidiary Crossword Bookstore Ltd. to the owners of Agarwal Business House, its franchise partner that operates its biggest outlet in India.

The company will divest 51% in the bookstore chain in the next 15 days Dinesh Gupta, Aakash Gupta and Family for a gross valuation of Rs 41.6 crore, the lifestyle retailer said in an exchange filing. That will be followed by sale of 39% stake over the next 12 months.

Agarwal Business House, part of the packaging to renewable energy conglomerate, will take over all the assets, brand and any liabilities of Crossword will be adjusted when arriving at the final consideration.

The sale is in line with Shoppers Stop's plan to focus on its core business and expand its strategic segments including First Citizen (membership plan), private labels, beauty and its omnichannel business, which has grown more than threefold in the last one year, the company said.

The deal is part of the business transformation starting last March, Venu Nair, managing director and chief executive officer at Shoppers Stop, said in a statement accompanying the filing. The company is selling Crossword to a franchisee partner that's been in the book business for more than two decades and is "extremely passionate" about it.

Agarwal Business House operates the largest Crossword store at Aundh, Pune.

Aakash Gupta said the group will focus on readers and improving the customer experience. “We are planning to infuse a significant amount for renovation, expansion, and the new omni journey.”

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