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Argos eyes pounds 340m bid for Glass's Guides.

The owner of Argos and Homebase was yesterday said to be a potential bidder for the publisher behind the used car dealers' bible Glass's Guides.

It was reported GUS has asked investment bank UBS to advise it on a potential pounds 340m bid for EurotaxGlass's.

Any purchase of the publisher, which also has an online version of Glass's Guides, would see it join GUS's financial services division, Experian, and would follow the recent acquisition of price comparison website PriceGrabber.com. The report said that private equity firm Lion Capital, which owns EurotaxGlass's, has asked investment bank JP Morgan to handle the sale.

But GUS is likely to come up against stiff competition for EurotaxGlass's, which has operations in 28 countries. It does not have a significant presence in the United States and could attract interest from several US-based trade buyers, with ADP - a provider of information to the American automotive trade - tipped as a bidder.

Three weeks ago, GUS bought California-based PriceGrabber. com for pounds 273m. The website, which enables online shoppers to compare retailers' prices, attracts 17m users in the US and recently started an operation in the UK.

In October, GUS agreed to sell Dutch home shopping operation Wehkamp for pounds 265m. It has also disposed of its 66% stake in fashion chain Burberry.

GUS posted an 8% fall in first-half profits from pounds 407m to pounds 376m as sales at catalogue business Argos slipped 3% while they were 4% down at DIY chain Homebase. The fall in pre-tax profits was cushioned by a record haul from Experian.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 3, 2006
Words:260
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