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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Whitbread to spin off Costa Coffee

Whitbread has revealed that it plans to demerge Costa Coffee from the wider group over the next 24 months. The announcement puts a timescale to existing plans to allow Costa and Premier Inn to operate as ‘distinct, focused and market-leading businesses.’ In the last three years Whitbread has laid the foundations for international growth with acquisitions for Premier Inn in Germany and Costa in China. Costa Coffee is the top coffee chain in the UK and second largest globally, with 2,400 shops in the UK and over 1,400 abroad.

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Rutland exits as Pizza Hut completes MBO

Rutland Partners has sold Pizza Hut Restaurants UK to its management team, led by CEO Jens Hofma. The reported £100m exit concludes a five-and-a-half year stint for Rutland, which bought the chain from Yum! Restaurants for a nominal £1 in 2012. Pizza Hut’s 260 UK restaurants have since undergone a £60m American-inspired re-imaging as the private equity firm sought to change the fortunes of the then loss-making business. The new owners will receive financial support from Pricoa Capital and Rutland will also retain an investment in the firm.

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NorthEdge Capital backs Prohire MBO

NorthEdge Capital has backed Prohire MD Dave Barlow in a management buyout. The Stoke-headquartered fleet management business employs 70 people and turned over £40m in the most recent financial year. Investment will be used to expand Prohire’s sales function and develop its ProVision technology platform. NorthEdge will also support the pursuit of a buy-and-build strategy.

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Assystem Technologies acquires Stirling Dynamics

Fast-growing exporter Stirling Dynamics has been acquired by Assystem Technologies. Stirling is a provider of specialist engineering services and products for commercial and defence customers in the aerospace and marine markets. The Bristol-based business employs 90 staff and supports nine navies worldwide. Assystem Technologies operates in sectors including aerospace, defence, energy and transport, employing 1,400 people in the UK and 12,000 people globally.

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Cancom Group acquires Ocean Intelligent Communications

Cancom Group has returned to the UK market with the acquisition of Ocean Intelligent Communications, a consultancy, infrastructure and managed service provider. Cancom is a Cisco partner specialising in digital transformation, employing 2,900 people and with revenues exceeding £1bn.

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Fulcrum completes second bolt-on deal for 2018

Sheffield-based infrastructure services provider Fulcrum has completed a £1.4m deal for CDS Pipe Services. CDS is a specialist engineering subcontractor and will strengthen Fulcrum’s direct delivery capabilities, bringing services in-house. The acquisition is the second in as many months for Fulcrum, following its takeover of Dunamis Group.

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80 jobs saved as Transflex Vehicle Rental finds buyer

Dawsongroup has taken over Transflex Vehicle Rental, a subsidiary of TOM Vehicle Rental which went into administration in March. The deal saves 80 jobs and sees Dawsongroup grow its fleet by more than 3,600 vehicles.

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Hammerson withdraws interest in Intu takeover

Hammerson has withdrawn its interest in pursuing a £3.4bn takeover of rival property operator Intu. Hammerson, which owns the Bullring in Birmingham, stated that the proposed acquisition was no longer in the best interests of shareholders, pointing to the weakness of the UK retail sector. The £18.5bn deal for the owner of Westfield Shopping Centres, announced at the same time as the Intu takeover, is still expected to close this quarter.

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Callcredit Information Group bought for £1bn

Callcredit Information Group has been acquired by NYSE-listed corporate TransUnion for £1bn. Founded in 2000, Callcredit Information Group provides data, analytics and technology solutions to businesses and consumers alike. It is the second largest and fastest growing consumer credit bureau in the UK. TransUnion sees the growth of fintech as driving demand for credit reporting services worldwide.

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MFH Group changes ownership

Engineering firm MFH Group has changed ownership following a £3.4m funding deal. Rob Harmston and Steve Parker has bought the business with a combined finance package from Natwest and RBS Invoice Finance. MFH Group employs 48 people across sites in Leeds, Leicester and Sheffield and has an annual turnover of £7.5m.

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