The online travel search engine Skyscanner is the latest British technology company to undergo a change of ownership with the announcement that it has been acquired by the Chinese company Ctrip, in a deal which values Skyscanner at £1.4bn. Ctrip specialises in accommodation reservations, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management. A market leader in China, it believes this acquisition will strengthen its position in the global travel industry.
The private equity firm Bridgepoint has sold Oasis Dental Care to Bupa for £835m. The deal gives Bupa access to the UK’s £7.1bn dental market, with over 2m customers, over 1,800 clinicians and 420 clinics.
From 1 April 2017 the National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50. The National Living Wage is the minimum amount per hour it is legal to pay an employee aged over 25. The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds increases to £7.05 per hour, for 18 to 20 year olds it becomes £5.60 per hour, 16 to 17 year olds must be paid at least £4.05 per hour, and the rate for apprentices goes up to £3.50 per hour.
The UK’s largest specialist equipment hire company Hewden has gone into administration, resulting in 250 employees being made redundant with immediate effect. Three divisions of the Group have been acquired by Ashtead Plant Hire Company: the access and power generation assets, the on-site plant business and the business and assets of Interlift Limited, in addition to the Hewden brand name. A total of 133 employees will transfer across with these businesses. The remaining Hewden staff are waiting for a buyer to be found for the crane business and depots.
The telecommunications specialist Daisy has acquired Alternative Networks for £165.3m. The deal expands the range of mobile and fixed line products and services that Daisy offers.
Morrisons is to revive the Safeway brand for a range of convenience products for wholesale to independent retailers. Morrisons bought the Safeway supermarket chain in 2004. Morrisons is also to pilot a range of convenience foods, Morrisons Daily, in ten petrol station shops owned and managed by the forecourt operator, Rontec. Four Morrisons Daily shops will open before Christmas and a further six in January. Morrisons is already trialling a convenience products offer with another forecourt operator, Motor Fuel Group. Morrisons sold off its convenience store chain M Local last year.
Verteda has been taken over by the Australian technology company MSL Solutions. Verteda specialises in developing software for the hospitality sector.
MJ Hudson has bought the investment advisory firm Allenbridge, and the outsourced fund management provider Tower Gate Capital. The acquisitions mean MJ Hudson is now able to offer a full range of asset management and investment infrastructure services to fund managers, advisers and institutional investors.
The food producer Cranswick has acquired the pork processer Dunbia Ballymena.
The law firms Fieldfisher and Hill Hofstetter have agreed to merge. Hill Hofstetter specialises in corporate, litigation, real estate and employment law. The newly combined firm is planning to move to new headquarters in Birmingham in April 2017.