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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Littlewoods sells to Barclay brothers
Shoppers at till in Littlewoods
Littlewoods sold its pool business to focus on retail
Littlewoods, the privately owned retail business, is being sold to the media entrepreneurs, the Barclay brothers.

The company, based in Liverpool, was founded on the Littlewoods football pools in 1923 but has since sold the gambling business to focus exclusively on retail.

It has struggled to keep pace with the increasingly competitive retail sector, and revealed in June that it could potentially be sold.

The Barclay brothers own the Ritz hotel in London as well as the Scotsman newspaper and an extensive property portfolio.

End of an era

Littlewoods was until now owned by the Moores family, having been founded by Sir John Moores almost 80 years ago.

It runs 189 shops and a home shopping arm, but was forced to launch a cost-cutting restructuring last year.

It said the deal was a "wrench" but would ensure full employment of its 22,000 staff and keep the Littlewoods name.

Littlewoods chairman David Simons said the sale was "a major milestone".

Family values

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, known as the Barclay brothers, are making the 750m offer through an investment vehicle called LW Investments.

Mr Simons said: "We are pleased that Littlewoods is being acquired by another private family company with similar values."

After the company's revelation in June, there was much speculation about who would take over the group.

Rival retailers Peacock Group, Marks & Spencer and Bhs had all been suggested as potential bidders.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Russel Hayes
"The Barclays bought it at a time when tough times in the high street are about to get tougher"

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See also:

04 Oct 02 | Business
19 Sep 02 | Business
19 Sep 02 | Business
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