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Popular Holdings receives privatisation offer from Grand Apex

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Singapore's beleaguered bookstore chain, Popular Holdings, could soon be privatised.

SINGAPORE'S beleaguered bookstore chain, Popular Holdings, could soon be privatised.

The mainboard-listed firm is expected to receive a voluntary conditional cash offer from Grand Apex Holdings, CIMB Bank Singapore announced on behalf of the latter on Wednesday. Grand Apex is jointly-owned by Popular Holdings' group CEO and executive director, Chou Cheng Ngok, and his wife, Hu Nan Lee.

The offer price for each share is S$0.32 in cash, a 39.1 per cent premium on Popular Holdings' last traded price on Tuesday, and a 37.3 per cent premium on the volume weighted average price for the three-month period to Tuesday.

Grand Apex believes that the privatisation of Popular Holdings will provide it with greater management flexibility to develop its business, optimise resources and facilitate any strategic initiatives or operational changes.

Popular Holdings is involved in book retail, distribution and publishing. Over the years, it has also diversified into the e-learning, property and food & beverage space.

Before news of the announcement on Wednesday, Popular Holdings' counter stood unchanged at S$0.23.