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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Theo Fennell bailed out of administration by Endless’s Enact

Endless-run SME investor Enact has backed Theo Fennell in a management buyout of the eponymous jewellery business. The business had sunk into administration in May, causing 54 redundancies, with rising ‘fixed costs’ being reported as hampering the company’s restructuring plans. Investment from Enact will allow Theo Fennell to return to business as usual – designing, creating and selling quirky high end jewellery from its flagship store on Fulham Road in Chelsea and The Royal Exchange.

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Northampton Town boosted by Chinese takeover

A majority stake in Northampton Town Ventures Limited, the majority owner of Northampton Town FC, has been purchased by the Chinese sports development and education company 5USport. The Cobblers intend to use investment to mount a serious challenge for promotion following a first year back in League One in 2016-17 which saw them place 16th. The club has secured an initial increase in the playing budget and funds for the purchase of young players, as well as investment for other areas such as Sixfields Stadium’s East Stand.

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Sumitomo Heavy Industries acquires boiler business from Amec Foster Wheeler

Amec Foster Wheeler has completed the sale of its CFB boiler business to Sumitomo Heavy Industries. The deal has been completed via the sale of shares in FW Energie B.V. The combined business will be known as Sumitomo SHI FW, becoming part of SHI’s Energy and Environment Group. This sale is expected to be one of several Global Power Group steam generator businesses Amec Foster Wheeler will offload this year. Wood Group agreed to buy Amec Foster Wheeler for £2.2bn in March.

 

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L1 Retail lines up £1.77bn takeover of Holland & Barrett

L1 Retail has announced that it has agreed to buy Holland & Barrett from The Nature’s Bounty Co. and The Carlyle Group for £1.77bn. Founded in 1870, the health and wellness retail chain now operates from over 1,150 locations worldwide with over 4,200 associates and staff. The business’s revenues exceeded £610m in 2016, marking 32 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth. L1 Retail aims to capitalise on continued projected growth in the £10bn health and wellness industry with the deal. The sale is expected to be completed in September later this year.

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EU fines Google €2.42bn for breaching antitrust rules

Google has been fined €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. The European Commission (EC) found that the US company has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service in its search results. The EC says that Google must end this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said, ‘What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.’ Google says that it ‘respectfully disagrees’ with the decision and will consider appealing.

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7digital secures deals with MediaMarktSaturn

London-based media streaming specialist 7digital has announced a string of new contracts and acquisitions to cement its place in the European digital music market. It has confirmed a two-way deal with music retailer MediaMarktSaturn, which will see it take control of rival B2B music business 24-7. It will also become a supplier to another MediaMarktSaturn subsidiary, the streaming service Juke!, while MediaMarktSaturn will in return become 7digital’s biggest individual shareholder.

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Hudson James Human Capital acquires Vitae Selection

Hudson James Human Capital has acquired Vitae Selection, a boutique recruitment firm specialising in senior appointments. The combination of the two businesses doubles Hudson James’ headcount and turnover and creates one of the largest consumer recruiters in the North.

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Sanctuary Group tops 100 care homes with Embrace acquisition

Housing and care provider Sanctuary Group has expanded its portfolio of care homes with the purchase of Embrace Group. The deal includes 35 properties predominately located in Scotland and the North East, complementing Sanctuary’s existing portfolio of 68 care homes across the Midlands and South. Along with this, the takeover will see the transfer of Embrace’s supported living scheme, and some 1,800 employees join Sanctuary’s 12,000-strong workforce.

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Vattenfall enters UK consumer energy market

Swedish power company Vattenfall has entered the UK consumer energy market with the purchase of iSupplyEnergy. The state-owned business will combine its increasingly renewable energy solutions with iSupplyEnergy’s digitised customer service expertise. iSupplyEnergy will continue to serve its 120,000+ customers as a wholly owned subsidiary of the utility. Vattenfall announced that it would begin selling renewable energy to British customers for the first time earlier in 2017. From 2018, the company will operate over 1GW of installed wind capacity.

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Shawbrook Bank set to go private with Marlin Bidco deal

Challenger bank Shawbrook is set to go private following the acceptance of an offer from Marlin Bidco. Following an initial takeover attempt in March, Marlin Bidco made a final, improved offer of 340p per share in June, valuing the company at £868m. The acceptance of the deal has increased Marlin Bidco’s share in the company from 38.8% to 75.6%. The passing of a 75% threshold means that Shawbrook’s new owner will look to delist the company, as was outlined as part of its offer to shareholders. Marlin Bidco is jointly owned by funds managed and advised by Pollen Street Capital and advised by BC Partners. Shawbrook has seen share prices fall following the announcement of the sale.

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