Electric Business

A brief summary of business news to keep you informed on company start-ups, corporate downsizing and mergers and acquisitions.

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Arch Insurance seals deal for Obelisk

Arch Insurance has completed a deal for Obelisk Underwriting, a specialist agency with offices in Leicester and Sheffield. Obelisk will join the recently formed Arch UK Regional Division, adding around £5m of gross written premiums to its books.

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Integrate acquires Akkroo

Akkroo, a specialist in B2B event lead capture, has been bought by US business Integrate for $34m (£26.1m). Akkroo’s software helps connect and integrate leads with a company’s marketing stack.

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Campbell Dallas and Scott-Moncrieff to merge

CogitalGroup, the owner of Walsall business advisory and accounting firm Baldwins, has completed the takeover of Scottish business Scott-Moncrieff. The deal will create a £200m turnover group, with Scott-Moncrieff the latest in a line of Scottish acquisitions for Cogital, kickstarted by its takeover of Campbell Dallas and Springfords in October 2017. All 16 Scott-Moncrieff partners and 220 staff will join Campbell Dallas, expanding the practice to 500 staff posted across 11 offices.

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Bonhill Group has Last Word

AIM-listed B2B media firm Bonhill Group has acquired Last Word Media. Founded in 2005, Last Word offers B2B media services across the globe, with 71 staff based in its London head office, eight staff in Hong Kong and three in Singapore.  The deal provides it with a springboard into America.

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Sodexo acquires The Good Care Group

French catering giant Sodexo has agreed to buy live-in care provider The Good Care Group. Headquartered in London, The Good Care Group provides live-in care under two brands: The Good Care Group and Oxford Aunts. Its acquisition will enable Sodexo to expand Prestige Nursing + Care and profit from the growing live-in care market.

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Entertainment One to take over Audio Network for £178m

Entertainment One has agreed a £178m deal for Audio Network, a production music specialist and one of the world’s largest independent creators and publishers of original music for use in film, television, advertising and digital media. With nine offices worldwide, Audio Network has a catalogue of 150,000 fully-owned tracks and relationships with more than 1,000 composers, singer-songwriters and emerging commercial artists. The business generates predictable revenue from royalties and sync licensing, with 60% of this from annual subscription fees.

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Investors wiped out as Debenhams falls into administration

After years of speculation, Debenhams has finally fallen into administration. Its operating subsidiaries have been sold to Celine UK Newco, controlled by US hedge fund Silver Point Capital. The saga has concluded with an acrimonious rejection of House of Fraser owner Mike Ashley’s £200m offer, a third defeat in three months for him following unsuccessful moves for Patisserie Valerie and HMV. Mike Ashley had built up a 29% stake in Debenhams that is now worthless. Debenhams’ decline has been a long time coming, with its nadir in 2018 as it was forced to issue a profit warning three times and write down the value of its assets by £525m, causing shares to fall by more than 80%. Following this pre-pack deal, it is expected that Debenhams will close 50 of its 166 stores and reduce the rents of those remaining using CVAs. It has debt of £621m.

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Northgate Public Services eyes up retinal screening firms

Leeds-based healthtech and software firm EMIS Health has disposed of its Specialist & Care business for up to £14.9m. Northgate Public Services has acquired the division, which is comprised of three specialist eye screening businesses: Medical Imaging UK, MIDRSS and Digital Healthcare. In 2018, Specialist & Care reported turnover of £20.4m, with an adjusted operating profit of £1.1m and closing net assets of £8m. Northgate Public Services was acquired by Japanese group NEC in 2018.

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Boohoo Group seals deal for MissPap

Boohoo Group has completed the acquisition of women’s pureplay fashion brand MissPap. The deal strengthens Boohoo’s multi-brand platform, which includes PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal. MissPap shareholders had recently resolved to wind up the company, with more than £1m owed to trade and expense creditors. MissPap has over a million followers on Instagram.

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Hendy Group hits £1bn turnover with latest deal

The motor vehicle dealer Hendy Group is to become a £1bn turnover company following the announcement that it is to buy Westover Group. Westover reported turnover of £334m and gross profit of £33m in 2017. The acquisition means Hendy operates 26 franchises from 83 outlets across the south of England.

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