Apple has confirmed that it is buying British music recognition app Shazam. Founded in 1999, Shazam began as a service whereby users could phone a number while a song played and receive a text message with the name and artist. The more recent app has been downloaded over a billion times. Shazam is one of only a handful of British startups to ever reach a $1bn valuation. It recorded a turnover of £40.3m last year.
Mazars has strengthened its financial planning offering with the acquisition of RCL Consultancy from The Embark Group. The deal adds another £300m of assets under management to Mazars Financial Planning’s books, taking it to over £1bn AUM in total. At the same time, Mazars has also announced that it is to launch a new employee benefits joint venture called ‘Vested’ with The Embark Group, combining the two companies’ activities in the UK Employee Benefits Consulting (EBC) sector. Vested will be 51% owned by Embark and become part of The Embark Group, with the remaining 49% owned by Mazars.
Sewell Group has acquired Huddersfield-based construction company Illingworth & Gregory (I&G), a specialist in maintenance and refurbishments in the health and education sectors. I&G primarily operates in West and North Yorkshire and has recently completed redevelopments of St James’s University Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and £3m of projects across the University of Leeds estate.
Superfast broadband supplier Quickline has acquired CLANNET, an internet provider based in Selby, North Yorkshire. CLANNET was established in 2002 by Nick Hall and Dean Welbourn in order to provide a broadband service to nearby village Biggin, expanding since to cater to over 1,000 customers throughout the Vale of York. Geographically, 90% of North Yorkshire still remains without a proper broadband service.
Ladbrokes Coral and GVC have reached agreement on the terms of a proposed merger that values Ladbrokes Coral at up to £3.9bn. This latest offer is the third time this year that GVC has held talks over a tie-up with Ladbrokes; previous negotiations have broken down due to disagreement over how to value the companies, an issue exacerbated by regulatory uncertainty in the gambling sector. As it stands, the deal would create an entity worth £5.7bn, making it one of the world’s largest betting companies.
Headlam Group, Europe’s largest distributor of floorcoverings, has completed a £35.4m deal for Domus, a specification consultant and supplier of hard surfaces for construction and refurbishment projects. Domus provides premium ceramic tiles and engineered flooring, encompassing engineered wood, luxury vinyl tyles (LVT) and laminate for both the residential and commercial project markets. The company will continue to operate as a distinct business unit with the same senior management team under long-serving MD Jon Newey. Headlam is a £700m turnover group made up of 62 wholly-owned businesses in the UK and Europe each operating under their own brand.
Cloud services provider ANS Group has bought Webantic, a cloud transformation and development specialist based in Manchester. This deal improves ANS Group’s end-to-end managed service offering, allowing customers to not only migrate and manage their applications, but develop next generation digital business applications in the public cloud.
Retail property manager Hammerson, owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, is to acquire smaller rival Intu for £3.4bn. The deal will create the UK’s largest property company, worth £21bn. Intu owns the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, and will provide Hammerson with exposure to two of Europe’s fastest growing economies in Ireland and Spain. The enlarged group will be called Hammerson plc and will be led by CEO David Atkins and CFO Timon Drakesmith. Shares in Intu jumped by nearly 19% with the news, while Hammerson’s fell by 3%.
Alliance in Partnership has acquired rival education catering specialist The Contract Dining Company in a bid to expand its reach in the South East. Established in 2004, The Contract Dining Company provides catering services to 53 schools in Kent, delivering over 8,000 dinners a day. It employs 230 people and will retain its management team, including founder Anne Winn, on the completion of this deal.
Melett, a UK-based supplier to the turbocharger aftermarket, has been bought by Wabtec Corporation, a provider of products and services for freight and transit rail and other industrial sectors with revenues exceeding £30bn. Melett has operations in the UK, continental Europe, North America and China and provides turbochargers and repair parts to customers in more than 100 countries worldwide.