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Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005

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Trent likely to acquire stake in Landmark

Vinay Kamath

Chennai , Aug. 29

TRENT Ltd, the retail arm of the Tata group, is likely to acquire a major stake in Landmark, the Chennai-based books and gifts retailer, according to sources close to the deal.

The multi-crore deal, expected to be concluded shortly, will bring the curtains down on several months of talks that Landmark has had with several likely investors ranging from large retail chains to private equity investors.

The Landmark promoters, according to sources, have been looking for a strategic investor to spearhead the group's expansion plans. Landmark, promoted in 1987 by Ms Hemu Ramaiah and Mr Natraj Ramaiah, currently has five stores across Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata, apart from an online offering. The chain has two flagship stores: one a 37,000 sq ft store at Spencer Plaza in Chennai and the other a 45,000 sq ft store at the Forum mall in Bangalore. The Kolkata store has been set up as an equal joint venture with the Emami group.

For the Tatas, which has promoted the private label lifestyle retail chain, Westside, the acquisition of Landmark will complement its current offering of apparel and home accessories.

Sources say that the present top team of Landmark will continue to manage the retailer's growth.

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