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WH Smith in talks to buy Octopus

LONDON - WH Smith is considering buying the publisher and TV production company Octopus Group for a reported £90m.

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The retailer has held talks with Octopus, which was owned by Reed until 1998 when it was the subject of a £33m management buyout. The MBO was supported by venture capital firm Kleinwort Benson Development Capital, which at the time said it would stay with the company for three for years.

WH Smith has been looking for acquisitions to add to its Hodder Headline publishing arm for some time. Octopus, which publishes The Joy of Sex, is also understood to have held talks with US private investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.

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