Retail giant Steinhoff International has agreed to buy a majority stake in the US mattress manufacturer Sherwood Bedding. Steinhoff is an integrated retailer that manufactures, sources and sells furniture, household goods and clothing in Europe, Africa, the US and Australasia. In addition to its multibillion-dollar purchase of Mattress Firm in September 2016, the Sherwood deal would mean that Steinhoff owns both the largest retailer and fifth largest manufacturer of mattresses in the US. The acquisition is expected to be completed in July.
Direct Healthcare Group has acquired Kirton Healthcare, a leading manufacturer of specialist seating products in the UK. Kirton offers a range of chairs that provide postural support and increased independence to people with neurological conditions and physical disabilities. Based in Caerphilly, DHG employs 190 people and has a turnover of £21m. NorthEdge Capital backed a management buyout of DHG in April 2016.
The Hut Group has announced that it expects to create over 1,000 new technology jobs in the next three years following its acquisition of global infrastructure specialist UK2 from LDC. The Hut Group will use the business to transform the cloud and security infrastructure underlying its e-commerce technology platform, improving capacity, speed and resilience for a global customer base. UK2 will also continue to provide services to a number of high profile clients that include DMGT, Nintendo, Unilever, Nectar, Honda and Elizabeth Arden.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely has agreed to buy a 51% majority stake in Lotus as part of a deal to invest in its parent company Proton Holdings. A 49% stake in Proton, which was Malaysia’s first national car brand, will be sold to Geely with a controlling stake remaining with DRB-Hicom. Geely has claimed that it aims to restore the carmaker ‘to its former glory’. In order to focus on its own range Proton will sell the entirety of its equity in Lotus, meaning its exit from the sports car segment. The British carmaker will join the revitalised Volvo brand under the stewardship of Geely. A definitive agreement is expected to be signed in July 2017.
Pollen Street Capital and MW Eaglewood have agreed to merge, creating one of Europe’s largest investment managers focused on specialist lending assets. The deal, expected to be completed later this year, combines the global reach, infrastructure and specialist platform knowledge of MW Eaglewood with the relationships, track record and industry expertise of Pollen Street Capital. Pollen Street was formed following the departure of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s private equity team from the bank in 2013. It will become the majority shareholder of the combined company.
Zünd Plotting Systems (UK) has been sold to Zünd Systemtechnik AG by Tim Taylor, the company’s current commercial director and previous MD. Zünd UK resells and distributes the Swiss company’s digital cutting systems to the UK market, having acted as its official partner since 1993. The consolidation of the companies’ relationship will allow Zünd Systemtechnik to improve its offering to customers in packaging, sign and graphics, textiles and composites industries. The sale follows Zünd UK’s appointment of Stuart Cole as managing director in February.
Sports Direct has bought certain assets of bankrupt retail group Eastern Outfitters, owner of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports. Bob’s Stores predominantly sells sportswear and casualwear while Eastern Mountain Sports specialises in outdoor and camping equipment and clothing. The $101m (£78m) deal includes 50 retail stores in the US.
OVO Energy has acquired CORGI HomePlan, the UK’s third largest home service provider. Established in 2011, CORGI HomePlan provides installation and maintenance services for boilers, thermostats and other technology to over 150,000 customers. The acquisition is OVO Energy’s second of 2017, marking its transition from core energy supplier to an integrated energy services company. The addition expands OVO’s current in-home network, which installs smart meters and smart-grid services.
Russell Taylor Group has bought Brighouse based recruitment agency Transline Group, saving it from the brink of insolvency. According to Russell Taylor Group, the £230m turnover business has been adversely affected by the growth of the UK eCommerce sector and tighter margins in the industry. The recruiter has also faced pressure in recent years after an investigation was launched into working conditions at Sports Direct’s main Shirebrook warehouse, to which Transline had supplied staff. The acquisition is Russell Taylor’s second of 2017, following its purchase of Assist Resourcing in January.
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.