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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Motor Fuel Group lines up deals for 17 more stations

Motor Fuel Group has further grown its network of forecourts with the purchase of four stations each from FW Kerridge and Burns & Co. MFG has also lined up a deal for nine stations from Manor Service Stations, which is expected to be completed in early October. These acquisitions are a continuation of a proactive M&A policy since the company completed a half-a-billion-pound MBO in 2015.

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Spicerhaart Group buys butters john bee

Spicerhaart Group has acquired 160-year-old estate agency butters john bee. Spicerhaart is the UK’s largest independent estate agency group with 200 branches and 2,000 employees. Its brands include Darlows, haart and Haybrook. butters john bee employs 200 people and has 19 branches along the M6 corridor between Macclesfield and Wolverhampton. It will continue to operate under the bjb brand.

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C&C Group purchases stake in pub chain Admiral Taverns

C&C Group, the maker of Magners and Tennent’s, has announced that it has acquired Admiral Taverns in partnership with Proprium Capital Partners. C&C’s investment amounts to £37m, which represents 47% of Admiral’s issued share capital. Admiral runs an estate of 845 pubs through a tenanted model. Its management team will continue to lead and remain invested in the business.

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Bell Pottinger in administration

The international PR and reputation agency Bell Pottinger has gone into administration. In recent weeks Bell Pottinger’s chief executive resigned, it was expelled from the Public Relations & Communications Association and high-profile clients deserted the agency following revelations of its activities in South Africa, where it was accused of inciting racial hatred. Bell Pottinger was set up in 1987 and currently employs around 180 people in London. Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher’s PR adviser was one of its founders. Now Lord Bell, he said that the firm would almost certainly not be able to survive the scandal.

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Unilever buys Pukka Herbs

Unilever has committed to increasing its presence in the UK herbal tea market with the acquisition of Pukka Herbs. As a brand Pukka emphasises a health and wellness philosophy, with its products coming from 100% certified, organic and ethically sourced ingredients. The company has a turnover of over £30m and, according to Euromonitor, is the fastest growing organic tea company in the world. Pukka will be joining brands such as PG Tips and Liptons within Unilever’s tea category.

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AVEVA Group agrees merger with Schneider Electric Software

French energy group Schneider Electric has agreed to merge its software arm with UK engineering software firm AVEVA, creating a company worth around £3bn. Schneider will take a majority stake in AVEVA, which will retain its base in Cambridge and remain listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its share price rose by 25.7% in the day following the announcement. The merger enables the enlarged AVEVA Group to offer a more comprehensive range of engineering and industrial software and expand its geographic presence and customer base. It diversifies and broadens AVEVA’s reach in industries such as chemicals, food, mining, pharmaceuticals and water in particular. This year AVEVA celebrates 50 years since it was spun out of Cambridge University. Today the company employs 1,700 people worldwide and generated revenues of £215.8m in the last fiscal year. Schneider Electric Software employs 2,700 people and recorded sales of £441.7m.

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Inflation hits five-year high

The rate of inflation rose to a five-year high of 2.9% in August, up from 2.6% in July. The main factors in the increase were the weak pound, the rebound in the oil price and a record increase in the price of clothing and footwear.

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Florette acquires MyFresh Prepared Produce

Prepared salad manufacturer Florette, part of French cooperative Agrial Group, has acquired MyFresh Prepared Produce. Based in Wigan, MyFresh employs 300 people and supplies vegetables and salads to a number of brands and businesses across Europe. The deal will enable Agrial to ramp up its operations in the UK market.

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Warner Music acquires Spinnin’ Records

Warner Music has acquired Spinnin’ Records, a label specialising in EDM based in the Netherlands. The label’s alumni includes the likes of Afrojack, Armand van Helden and Tiësto. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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ICO fines telecoms firm £85,000 for calling TPS-registered numbers

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined True Telecom Ltd £85,000 for making illegal calls. For over two years, the Dartford-based telecoms company called people who were registered on the Telephone Preference Service as well as people who had specifically asked the company not to contact them. Despite a warning from the ICO, the calls continued. Between April 2015 and April 2017, the ICO received 201 complaints. People said the calls were misleading because callers gave the impression they were from BT Openreach and the number was withheld.

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