In a move that could challenge the household energy Big Six, Shell has announced that is buying energy and broadband provider First Utility. Serving around 825,000 homes, First Utility has a 3% market share of the UK residential energy market. This deal builds upon a preexisting relationship: Shell supplies wholesale gas and electricity to First Utility, and in 2015 a licensing agreement between Shell Brands International and First Utility enabled them to operate in the German household energy sector under the Shell brand. Following this acquisition, Shell Energy Europe Limited would continue to supply wholesale gas and electricity to other energy retailers in the UK and Europe. The deal also includes First Utility’s German subsidiary, First Utility GmbH.
Holdcroft Motor Group has added three more dealerships to its portfolio with the acquisitions of Oldham Hyundai, Oldham Mazda and Stockport Hyundai from Vantage Motor Group. The deal takes Holdcroft’s number of sites to a total of 25 and its turnover to £420m.
European private equity investor Silverfleet Capital has acquired Riviera Travel. Established in Burton-on-Trent in 1984, Riviera offers a portfolio of escorted tours and cruises to 50 countries. The business focuses on the over-55s market and serves over 118,000 holidaymakers each year.
Fruit and confectionery sauce manufacturer Fruitapeel has been bought by Belgian food producer Puratos. Based in Lancashire, Fruitapeel supplies ingredients to high profile brands across the retail and foodservice sectors, employing 70 people.
Regional & City Airports (RCA), the airports management division of Rigby Group, has completed the acquisition of Bournemouth Airport from Manchester Airports Group for an undisclosed sum. Bournemouth Airport currently offers flights to 22 destinations across Europe, with 700,000 passengers using the airport in 2016. A base for Ryanair and TUI, the airport supports 900 full time equivalent jobs and contributes approximately £24m to the local economy. This acquisition is the fourth of its kind for RCA, which also owns Norwich, Exeter and Coventry Airports. With the deal it grows its workforce to 600 people, and expands its catchment and network in the South of England as it bids to build a credible alternative to the major London airports. Day-to-day management of the 200 acre Aviation Business Park adjacent to the airport will be handled by Rigby Real Estate.
Private equity investor Apollo Global Management has agreed to buy a majority stake in Haydock Finance. The Blackburn-based asset finance provider offers hire purchase and finance lease funding to business customers in the UK. The existing management team, led by chairman Jon Wilkinson, managing director Steve Worrall and credit and risk director Ian Barr, will continue to run the business.
IMI plc has announced that it is buying Bimba for £148m, a market leading manufacturer of pneumatic, hydraulic and electric motion solutions. Bimba has an extensive distributor network that primarily serves the industrial automation market in North America. It will be integrated into IMI Precision Engineering, nearly doubling the size of the division.
Jacobs Engineering Group has completed its acquisition of CH2M, creating an entity with a combined turnover of £11.2bn. Jacobs is one of the world’s largest providers of technical, professional and construction services. Its combination with CH2M particularly enhances its position in infrastructure, including water and transportation, as well as nuclear and environmental services, in which CH2M has a strong record of managing large-scale remediation programs for government and industrial clients. Going forward, Jacobs is to streamline its operating model into three global lines of business which are: Aerospace, Technology, Environmental and Nuclear (ATEN); Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities (BIAF); and Energy, Chemicals and Resources (ECR).
Dentsu Aegis Network’s performance marketing agency Merkle has expanded its B2B digital media and marketing capabilities with the acquisition of DWA. DWA applies expertise in ad-tech, real-time insight and management decision support to a range of integrated, global media including programmatic, search, social and demand generation. The company serves a number of enterprise clients including Cisco, Oracle and Salesforce. Its 150+ employees will join Merkle’s High Tech and B2B division.
Rockspring Property Investment Managers has been bought by German counterpart Patrizia Immobilien, bringing together assets under management worth approximately €40bn. Rockspring specialises in the acquisition and management of commercial property across the UK and mainland Europe. It has a client base of more than 120 institutional investors and employs 110 people in seven offices across Europe. Its fund brands, including Rockspring TransEuropean, Rockspring PanEuropean and Rockspring Hanover, will be unaffected following the closure of the deal.