The owner of Waterstones has bought American bookstore chain Barnes & Noble in a deal which the British bookseller's boss said will "counter Amazon's siren call".

Elliott Advisors said it had agreed to pay $683 million (£573m) for the company, which has 627 stores across all 50 US states.

James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, will be installed as boss of Barnes & Noble in addition to his current role, but the bookshop brands will continue to operate independently.

It follows a turnaround of Waterstones under Mr Daunt, driven by investment in the store estate and a focus on individual booksellers.

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He said: "Our purpose is to create, by investment and old-fashioned bookselling skill, bookshops good enough to be a pleasure in their own right and to have no equal as a place in which to choose a book.

"We counter thereby Amazon's siren call and defend the continued existence of real bookshops."

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Daunt added that Elliott's financial backing would allow him to invest in Barnes & Noble's store estate and "make them look a bit nicer".

Elliott took control of Waterstones last year, buying a majority stake from Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut who rescued the chain from near-collapse in 2011.

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Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline has offloaded a clutch of its brands including antiseptic cream Savlon in a deal with Huddersfield-based Thornton & Ross.

The deal, which a person close to the process said was valued in the high double digit million pound range, includes skincare brands Savlon, Eurax, Polytar and Oilatum as well as paediatric cough remedy Tixylix.

Thornton & Ross, which was founded in 1922 and was sold to Germany's Stada Group in 2013, already owns well-known brands such as Covonia and Hedrin.

Roger Scarlett-Smith, head and executive vice president of Thornton & Ross, said: "These acquisitions are indicative of our ambition to be a leading company in consumer health."

Reassure Group, the UK's sixth-largest life insurance provider, has announced its intention to spin out from global giant Swiss Re and float on the London Stock Exchange.

The group is a closed book life insurance consolidator, covering 4.3 million policies with £68.7 billion of assets under administration.

Reassure will trade on the stock exchange's main market and could be large enough to break into the FTSE 250.

Swiss Re said last year that it was mulling plans to list shares in the unit, but also considered a potential sale of the business. In 2017, Reassure bought Legal & General's mature savings business for £650 million.