RPC Group accepts £3.34bn bid from Berry

Plastics manufacturer Berry Global Group has reached an agreement to buy British packaging company RPC Group for £3.34bn, trumping Apollo Global Management’s previous offer of £3.3bn. Following the announcement activist investor Elliott Capital has raised its stake in EPC to 7.9% from 5.6%. Berry claims the combined company will employ 48,000 people across six continents and have revenues of approximately £10bn. The deal extends the trend for mergers and acquisitions in the packaging sector, which is profiting from stable cashflow and demand from online shopping.

JD Sports to buy Footasylum for £90.1m

JD Sports has agreed to buy Footasylum for £90.1m. The high street retailer already owns 18.7% of Footasylum, which issued a profit warning in September and subsequently saw its share price halve. JD Sports’ offer restores its former value, with its offer of 82.5p per share a near 80% premium on its closing price the week before. JD Sports has 2,400 stores, and owns the shoe store Size, sportswear brand Kukri and US chain Finish Line.

45,000 jobs at risk as Interserve collapses

Interserve, one of the British government’s biggest contractors, has collapsed into administration, wiping out shareholders and putting 45,000 jobs at risk. The firm is the largest probation provider in the UK, responsible for 40,000 offenders. Rescue plans were voted down by the two US hedge funds that own 35% of the company’s shares. 95% of other voters, some 16,000 smaller shareholders, opted for the rescue deal. The pre-pack administration means lenders have taken over the firm, staving off job losses in the short-term and meaning the company will continue to trade. The news is reminiscent of the collapse of fellow outsourcing giant Carillion in early 2018.

OneSavings Bank and Charter Court Financial Services agree £1.8bn merger

OneSavings Bank (OSB) and Charter Court Financial Services have agreed terms for a £1.8bn merger. The deal will be structured as a takeover by OSB and see Charter Court shareholders take a 45% stake in the group. The challenger banks have said the merger will create opportunities for growth, to improve its customer proposition, leverage complementary strengths, and create a diversified platform across product capabilities, brands and team cultures. It also expects to find £22m per annum in cost synergies over the next three years. The group will be led by OSB’s experienced CEO Andy Golding.

WestBridge Capital backs management buyout at APEM

WestBridge Capital has backed a management buyout at APEM, an independent environmental consultancy based in Stockport. Established in 1990, APEM provides environmental consultancy, laboratory services, field surveys and remote sensing capabilities to sectors including water, power, engineering, construction and transport. The firm has eight offices across the UK, as well as one in Germany and a forthcoming office in the US. It has revenue of £10m and employs 100 people.

TPA Capital completes deal for Pallet-Track

TPA Capital has completed a deal for Pallet-Track, a services provider to the palletised freight sector. Pallet-Track comprises almost 90 haulier members who leverage the network to provide nationwide coverage to customers. With hubs in Wolverhampton, Wigan and Welwyn Garden City, it processes approximately 3.5 million pallets a year and has revenues of £84.6m.

Operan Education Group acquires Teachers UK

Operam Education Group has acquired Teachers UK, a specialist recruitment agency based in Mansfield. Teachers UK places teachers, lecturers and support staff to academies, schools, colleges and nurseries across the region. The deal has been completed with backing from BGF and HSBC.

Ripon Farm Services to acquire RBM Agricultural

Ripon Farm Services is to expand into Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire following the announcement it is to acquire new & used farm machinery dealer RBM Agricultural. RBM has revenues of £45m and employs 80 people.

Mothercare sells Early Learning Centre to rival The Entertainer

Struggling retailer Mothercare has sold toy brand Early Learning Centre (ELC) to rival The Entertainer for £13.5m. ELC is known for its wooden train sets and shape sorters. The brand is sold in Mothercare outlets and other chains, with no standalone stores. In its heyday, ELC had more than 200 shops across the UK. Mothercare is using the proceeds from the sale to reduce its £21.5m bank debt. It has also handed over the running of its toy departments to The Entertainer.

Adler Insurance Group takes over Corrigans

The chartered insurance broker Corrigans has been taken over by Adler Insurance Group.