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Jax Daily Record Monday, Dec. 3, 201809:00 AM EST

WH Smith completes $198 million purchase of InMotion

The Jacksonville-based seller of digital accessories at airports will retain jobs and and its base in Southside.

London-based WH Smith PLC completed the deal Friday to buy Jacksonville-based InMotion for $198 million, according to InMotion President and CEO Jeremy Smith, who retains those titles.

When the agreement was announced Oct. 30, Smith said InMotion will operate as a subsidiary, retaining its almost 800 employees systemwide and its 55 or so in Jacksonville.

InMotion, a “pure play travel retailer,” sells digital accessories such as headphones, earbuds, mobile power and portable speakers, among 114 locations in 43 U.S. airports, according to Smith.

The purchase allows WH Smith to launch the airport format into the U.S. for news, books and convenience products. WH Smith operates more than 1,400 stores worldwide with operations in 52 airports and across 28 countries outside of the U.K.

Plus, it said in October the acquisition provides “significant potential to accelerate growth” outside of the U.S. using the InMotion format.

WH Smith employs about 14,000 people, primarily in the U.K.

WH Smith Group Chief Executive Stephen Clarke said in the Oct. 30 news release that the purchase will help develop both businesses across North America and other territories.

Smith expects to operate 117 locations by year-end. WH Smith said the deal doubles the size of its international travel business.

InMotion is based in Southside's Center Point Business Park off Philips Highway north of Butler Boulevard.

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