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Waterstones (formerly Waterstone's) is a British book retailer that operates 311 shops, mainly in the United Kingdom and also other nearby countries. As of February 2014, it employs around 3,500 staff in the UK and Europe. An average-sized Waterstones shop sells a range of approximately 30,000 individual books, as well as stationery and other related products.
Established in 1982 by Tim Waterstone, after whom the company was named, the bookseller expanded rapidly until being sold in 1993 to WHSmith. In 1998, Waterstones was bought by a consortium of Waterstone, EMI and Advent International. The company was taken under the umbrella of HMV Group, which later merged the Dillons and Ottakar's brands into the company. Following several poor sets of results for the group, HMV put the chain up for sale. In May 2011, it was announced that A&NN Capital Fund Management, owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut, had bought the chain for £53.5m and appointed James Daunt as managing director. The company is incorporated in England and Wales as Waterstones Booksellers Ltd, with its registered office at 203–206 Piccadilly, London (which is also the location of its flagship shop). As well as the Waterstones brand, the company owns the London bookseller Hatchards, Irish shop Hodges Figgis, and reached an agreement to purchase Foyles in 2018. In April 2018, hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation bought a majority stake in the company.
The bookseller has concession agreements with Paperchase and previously with coffee chains Costa Coffee and Starbucks in some shops, but since 2012 has introduced its own Café W brand. For a time, Waterstones sold e-readers, including in 2012 partnering with Amazon to sell the Amazon Kindle, but has since pulled out of this market for commercial reasons.Waterstones administers and supports various literary awards, including the Children's Laureate award and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.
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Founded in 1982