Home Retail Group share price soars on announcing it will return £200m to shareholders with Wesfarmers to buy Homebase for £340m

Clara Guibourg
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Wesfarmers has bought Homebase for £340m (Source: Getty)

Home Retail Group has announced it will be returning £200m to shareholders, following the sale of its Homebase chain to one of Australia’s biggest listed companies.

The British retail group has confirmed reports it will sell the DIY chain to Australian Wesfarmers for £340m.

Wesfarmers, which already owns DIY supplier Bunnings, said it will spend another £242m to build up Homebase under the Bunnings brand.

Read more: Sainsbury's Argos bid poses challenges for landlords

Home Retail Group chairman John Coombe said in a statement he was “very pleased” to have reached this agreement:

We believe that this is the best deal for shareholders and for the business.

Wesfarmers is an experienced and successful retailer with exciting plans to invest in and grow their presence in the UK through Homebase.

Following the deal, Home Retail Group will return net cash proceeds totalling around £200m to shareholders.

The deal, which marks Wesfarmers' first foray into the UK, came as Sainsbury’s prepares a takeover of Home Retail’s high street business Argos, with a formal offer due within weeks, and analysts suggest that the Wesfarmers deal has removed significant hurdles.

"With Homebase potentially off its books, this may remove an obstacle to Sainsbury's acquiring Argos," said Clive Black from Shore Capital.

Home Retail Group shares, which had been ailing until the talks were made public, rose 2.4 per cent in early morning trading on the news.

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