Electric Business

A brief summary of business news to keep you informed on company start-ups, corporate downsizing and mergers and acquisitions.

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Pompey Supporters’ Trust approves Michael Eisner takeover

Portsmouth FC has announced that its shareholders have voted in favour of selling the club to Tornante Group, owned by the family of ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner. The Pompey Supporters’ Trust, the club’s principal shareholder since buying it out of administration in 2013, has voted 80.3% in favour of selling its stake. Portsmouth were crowned champions of League Two earlier this month.

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Marston’s takes over Charles Wells’ brewing business

Wolverhampton based pubco and brewer Marston’s has acquired the Bedford brewing business of Charles Wells Group. The deal includes the Bombardier, Courage and McEwan’s brands brewed at the site, as well as the global licence for Young’s ale. The distribution rights that Charles Wells owned for beers such as Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin and wine merchants Cockburn and Campbell are also included in the sale. Charles Wells and John Bulls beers will remain with Charles Wells Group, but the company’s employees in production, national sales and brands marketing will transfer to Marston’s. Charles Wells has designs to set up a small local brewery in Bedford in the next few years, with brewing and exclusive pub distribution services going to Marston’s for the interim.

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CapVest Partners buys Karro Food Group from Endless

Private equity firm Endless has sold Karro Food Group to CapVest Partners. Since Endless acquired it in January 2013, Karro has enjoyed four years of profit growth. The pork producer currently employs over 3,100 people and boasts a turnover in excess of £550m.

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Hunter Douglas lines up £300m Hillarys acquisition

Window coverings and architectural products manufacturer Hunter Douglas has agreed to buy Hillarys for £300m. Hillarys is a UK retailer of blinds, curtains and carpets and will retain its management and structure following the completion of the deal. The Hunter Douglas Group is comprised of 130 companies with 50 manufacturing and 80 assembly operations in more than 100 countries. Hillarys’ 1,300 staff will be joining a group workforce of 21,000 people.

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CMS, Nabarro and Olswang complete merger

CMS, Nabarro and Olswang have completed the ‘largest ever’ merger in the UK legal sector to create CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang. Altogether CMS is the sixth largest law firm in the world by lawyer headcount and sixth largest in the UK by revenue. CMS now owns 70 offices across 39 countries and has over 1,000 partners and 5,000 lawyers worldwide.

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CLX Communications acquires Dialogue Group

Swedish CPaaS company CLX Communications has bought Dialogue Group, a global provider of mobile messaging and security services. The acquisition is CLX’s fourth in the last couple of years, boosting its customer base in the UK and Australian markets and providing it with Tier 1 operator connections across the APAC region. The deal also includes Dialogue’s Sentinel Security product, which further strengthens CLX’s offering of fraud and security solutions to mobile operators worldwide.

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Park Place Technologies acquires Prestige Data Centre Solutions

Park Place Technologies has acquired Bromsgrove based IT firm Prestige Data Centre Solutions. Park Place Technologies is a leading provider of hardware maintenance and support for storage, server and network equipment. The acquisition of Prestige DCS indicates the company’s commitment to expanding in the UK and Europe, following on from its establishment of a European HQ in London in May 2015.

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Argyll Scott and Hydrogen Group to merge

Hydrogen Group has agreed to acquire London based recruiter Argyll Scott for £3.3m. The companies will merge to create a multi-brand recruitment group, allowing Hydrogen to diversify and expand its APAC footprint and Argyll Scott to accelerate its entry into key established target markets. In January 2017 Argyll Scott acquired the Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur operations of Reed Specialist Recruitment. Following the merger, the group’s combined workforce will consist of 100 consultants in APAC and 350 staff worldwide.

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Ixis founder completes management buyout

An MBO has been completed at Warrington based digital agency Ixis. Founding director Mike Carter has acquired the company following the departure of co-founder Chris Haslam. Established in 2004, Ixis is a website design and hosting consultancy that specialises in the open source content management platform Drupal. The company has boasted clients such as the British Council and UK Government, and will look to develop beyond the UK in the coming years.

 

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Lloyds Banking Group returns to private ownership

Lloyds Banking Group has returned to private ownership, with the Government selling off the last of its stake almost nine years after its £21.2bn bailout of the bank during the financial crisis. Lloyds Banking Group says that since 2009 it has paid back to the taxpayer £894m more than the original investment. Lloyds returned to profitability in 2013 and resumed paying dividends in 2014. It says it will remain committed to being ‘a simple, low risk, UK-focused bank, well positioned for the future’.

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