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WH Smith PLC - Results of Placing

RNS Number : 2823Q
WH Smith PLC
17 October 2019





17 October 2019






WH Smith PLC ("WH Smith" or the "Group") is pleased to announce the successful completion of the placing announced earlier today (the "Placing").

A total of 7,209,303 new ordinary shares in WH Smith (the "Placing Shares") have been placed by Barclays Bank PLC ("Barclays") and J.P. Morgan Securities plc, which conducts its UK investment banking activities as J.P. Morgan Cazenove ("J.P. Morgan Cazenove" or "JPMC") (together, the "Joint Bookrunners") at a price of 2,150 pence per Placing Share, with existing and new institutional investors, raising gross proceeds of approximately £155 million. The placing price of 2,150 pence per Placing Share represents a premium of 3.0% to the closing price on 16 October 2019 and a discount of 4.8% to the intra-day price at 10:54 a.m. (being the time the placing price was agreed).

The Placing Shares represent approximately 7% of the issued ordinary share capital of WH Smith prior to the Placing.

Application has been made to the Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA") for admission of the Placing Shares to the premium listing segment of the Official List maintained by the FCA  and to the London Stock Exchange plc (the "LSE") for admission to trading of the Placing Shares on the LSE's main market for listed securities (together, "Admission"). It is expected that Admission will take place at or around 8.00 a.m. (London time) on 21 October 2019 (or such later date as may be agreed between WH Smith and the Joint Bookrunners) and that dealings in the Placing Shares will commence at the same time.

The Placing Shares will, when issued, be credited as fully paid and will rank pari passu in all respects with the existing issued Ordinary Shares of WH Smith. This includes the right to receive all dividends and other distributions declared or paid in respect of such Ordinary Shares after the date of issue of the Placing Shares. The Placing Shares will be entitled to receive the final dividend for the year ended 30 August 2019.

Following Admission, the total number of shares in issue in WH Smith will be 115,058,816. WH Smith currently holds zero shares in treasury, and, therefore, following Admission, the total number of voting shares in WH Smith in issue will be 115,058,816. This figure may be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculations by which they determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, WH Smith under the FCA's Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules.


For further information please contact:


WH Smith PLC

Investors: Mark Boyle                                                                                                                                               +44 (0) 20 3981 1285
Media: Nicola Hillman                                                                                                                                              +44 (0) 17 9356 3354


Barclays - Joint Bookrunner, Joint Financial Adviser and Corporate Broker

Mark Astaire, Stuart Jempson

Phil Drake, Ben West                                                                                                                                                +44 (0) 20 7623 2323


J.P. Morgan Cazenove - Joint Bookrunner, Joint Financial Adviser and Corporate Broker

Edmund Byers, Behzad Arbabzadah,

Nicholas Hall, Ed Digby                                                                                                                                           +44 (0) 20 7742 4000



Fiona Micallef-Eynaud, Alice Gibb                                                                                                                          +44 (0) 20 7404 5959






Members of the public are not eligible to take part in the Placing.  All offers of the Placing Shares will be made pursuant to an exemption under Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 (the "Prospectus Regulation"), from the requirement to produce a prospectus for offers of the Placing Shares. This Announcement and the terms and conditions set out herein are for information purposes only and are directed only at: (a) persons in member states of the European Economic Area (the "EEA") other than the United Kingdom who are qualified investors within the meaning of Article 2(e) of the Prospectus Regulation ("Qualified Investors") (b) persons in the United Kingdom, who are Qualified Investors and (i) investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the "Order"); (ii) high net worth companies, unincorporated associations and other persons falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order; or (iii) persons to whom it may otherwise by lawfully communicated (all such persons together being referred to as "Relevant Persons").

This Announcement must not be acted on or relied on by persons who are not Relevant Persons. Any investment or investment activity to which this Announcement relates is only available to, and will be engaged in only with, Relevant Persons. Persons distributing this Announcement must satisfy themselves that is lawful to do so. This Announcement is for information purposes only and shall not constitute an offer to sell or issue or the solicitation of an offer to buy, subscribe for or otherwise acquire securities in any jurisdiction in which any such offer or solicitation would be unlawful. Any failure to comply with this restriction may constitute a violation of the securities laws of such jurisdictions.  Persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser.

The distribution of this Announcement and the offering, placing and/or issue of the Placing Shares in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law. No action has been taken by WH Smith, the Joint Bookrunners or any of their respective affiliates that would permit an offer of the Placing Shares or possession or distribution of this Announcement or any other offering or publicity material relating to such Placing Shares in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required. Persons into whose possession this announcement comes are required by WH Smith and the Joint Bookrunners to inform themselves about and to observe any such restrictions.

This Announcement or any part of it does not constitute or form part of any offer to issue or sell, or the solicitation of an offer to acquire, purchase or subscribe for, any securities in the United States (including its territories and possessions, any state of the United States and the District of Columbia (the "United States" or "US"), Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan or any other jurisdiction in which the same would be unlawful. No public offering of the Placing Shares is being made in any such jurisdiction.

The Placing Shares have not been and will not be registered under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), or under the securities laws or with any securities regulatory authority of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States, and accordingly the Placing Shares may not be offered, sold, pledged or transferred, directly or indirectly, in, into or within the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and the securities laws of any relevant state or jurisdiction of the United States. There is no intention to register any portion of the offering in the United States or to conduct a public offering of securities in the United States.

Solely for the purposes of the product governance requirements contained within: (a) EU Directive 2014/65/EU on markets in financial instruments, as amended ("MiFID II"); (b) Articles 9 and 10 of Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2017/593 supplementing MiFID II; and (c) local implementing measures (together, the "MiFID II Product Governance Requirements"), and disclaiming all and any liability, whether arising in tort, contract or otherwise, which any "manufacturer" (for the purposes of the Product Governance Requirements) may otherwise have with respect thereto, the Placing Shares have been subject to a product approval process, which has determined that the Placing Shares are: (i) compatible with an end target market of (a) retail investors, (b) investors who meet the criteria of professional clients and (c) eligible counterparties, each as defined in MiFID II; and (ii) eligible for distribution through all distribution channels as are permitted by MiFID II (the "Target Market Assessment"). Notwithstanding the Target Market Assessment, distributors should note that: the price of the Placing Shares may decline and investors could lose all or part of their investment; the Placing Shares offer no guaranteed income and no capital protection; and an investment in the Placing Shares is compatible only with investors who do not need a guaranteed income or capital protection, who (either alone or in conjunction with an appropriate financial or other adviser) are capable of evaluating the merits and risks of such an investment and who have sufficient resources to be able to bear any losses that may result therefrom. The Target Market Assessment is without prejudice to the requirements of any contractual, legal or regulatory selling restrictions in relation to the Placing. Furthermore, it is noted that, notwithstanding the Target Market Assessment, the Bookrunners will only procure investors who meet the criteria of professional clients and eligible counterparties.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Target Market Assessment does not constitute: (a) an assessment of suitability or appropriateness for the purposes of MiFID II; or (b) a recommendation to any investor or group of investors to invest in, or purchase, or take any other action whatsoever with respect to the Placing Shares.

Each distributor is responsible for undertaking its own target market assessment in respect of the Placing Shares and determining appropriate distribution channels.

Barclays Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (the "PRA") and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA") and the PRA, is acting for WH Smith in connection with the Placing and no-one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than WH Smith for providing the protections afforded to clients of Barclays Bank PLC nor for providing advice in relation to the Placing or any other matter referred to in this Announcement.

J.P. Morgan Securities plc, which conducts its UK investment banking activities as J.P. Morgan Cazenove, and which is authorised by the PRA and regulated in the United Kingdom by the FCA and the PRA, is acting for WH Smith in connection with the Placing and no-one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than WH Smith for providing the protections afforded to clients of J.P. Morgan Securities plc nor for providing advice in relation to the Placing or any other matter referred to in this Announcement.

This Announcement is being issued by and is the sole responsibility of WH Smith. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is or will be made as to, or in relation to, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by the Joint Bookrunners or by any of their respective affiliates or their or their respective affiliates' agents, directors, officers and employees, respectively, as to, or in relation to, the accuracy or completeness of this Announcement or any other written or oral information made available to or publicly available to any interested party or its advisers, and any liability therefor is expressly disclaimed.

In connection with the Placing, each of the Joint Bookrunners and any of their affiliates, acting as investors for their own account, may take up a portion of the shares in the Placing as a principal position and in that capacity may retain, purchase, sell, offer to sell for their own accounts such shares and other securities of WH Smith or related investments in connection with the Placing or otherwise. Accordingly, references to Placing Shares being offered, acquired, placed or otherwise dealt in should be read as including any issue or offer to, or acquisition, placing or dealing by, the Joint Bookrunners and any of their affiliates acting in such capacity. In addition, the Joint Bookrunners and any of their affiliates may enter into financing arrangements (including swaps) with investors in connection with which the Joint Bookrunners and any of their respective affiliates may from time to time acquire, hold or dispose of shares. The Joint Bookrunners do not intend to disclose the extent of any such investment or transactions otherwise than in accordance with any legal or regulatory obligations to do so.

In addition, in the event that the Joint Bookrunners acquire Placing Shares in the Placing, the Joint Bookrunners may co-ordinate disposals of such shares in accordance with applicable law and regulation. Except as required by applicable law or regulation, the Joint Bookrunners do not propose to make any public disclosure in relation to such transactions.

The Placing Shares to be issued or sold pursuant to the Placing will not be admitted to trading on any stock exchange other than the London Stock Exchange.

Neither the content of WH Smith's website nor any website accessible by hyperlinks WH Smith's website is incorporated in, or forms part of, this Announcement.

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

Quick facts: WH Smith PLC


Price: 1672.5

Market Cap: £2.19 billion

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