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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Absolute DM eyes Telescope Studios deal

Absolute Direct Marketing has agreed to take over digital design firm Telescope Studios. The £5m deal will enhance Absolute DM’s software development, data and asset management expertise.

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Morson Group acquires Anderselite

Technical recruiter the Morson Group has acquired Anderselite, a Southampton-based provider of recruitment services to the civil engineering, construction, facilities management and rail sectors. Morson is an engineering design and project management company as well as a recruiter. It is headquartered in Manchester and has over 40 offices worldwide.

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Complete Business Solutions Group announces triple acquisition

Complete Business Solutions Group has completed a triple swoop for OfficeGold, Simply Outsourced and Anglo Office Group. The deal takes the Wakefield-based office supplies dealer past £100m turnover. OfficeGold is an £11m turnover business supplies and services company based in Guildford, while Simply Outsourced is a £6m turnover IT and technical services firm in Cambridgeshire. Anglo Office Group is a London-based managed services provider with annual turnover of £8m. Altogether the acquisitions add £25m of profitable turnover to the group as well as four new sites, taking Complete Business Solutions to 20 locations nationwide.

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Poundworld brand saved from administration

The Poundworld brand has been rescued from administration by Irish retailing family the Hendersons, who opened Ireland’s original Poundworld store in 1984. The proposed deal is likely to include about 10% of Poundworld’s 355 stores, and will not save the jobs of any current staff.

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Lawrence Stroll-led consortium saves Force India F1

Canadian investor Lawrence Stroll, the father of Williams driver Lance Stroll, is leading a consortium that has bought Force India Formula 1 out of administration. The deal pays its creditors in full, saves all 405 jobs and secures ongoing funding for the team. Force India was believed to owe engine suppliers Mercedes £10m while its operating company, its largest creditor, was understood to have debts in excess of £159m.

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Pearson Rowe bought by mfg Solicitors

mfg Solicitors has completed a merger with Pearson Rowe, a 13-strong law firm that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The deal takes mfg’s headcount to 154 and its number of partners to 37. It also adds a Birmingham site to mfg’s existing five offices in Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Ludlow, Telford and Worcester.

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Sports Direct buys House of Fraser for £90m

Sports Direct has agreed to buy House of Fraser for £90m. The department store chain went into administration earlier the same day after failing to reach an agreement with creditors and investors. House of Fraser has been struggling for some time, and had announced restructuring plans in June that would have seen 31 of its 59 UK stores close down. The Chinese business C Banner looked set to take control and inject £70m into the business, but pulled out of the deal after its share price plummeted. Sports Direct’s owner Mike Ashley already holds an 11% stake in the department store chain. The retail mogul’s plans are unclear, but could include rebranding some stores as Sports Direct.

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Rodgers Leask directors complete MBO

The directors of engineering consultancy Rodgers Leask have completed a management buyout with support from Sterling Capital Investments, Investec Capital Solutions and Flint Bishop Solicitors. Co-founder Andy Leask invited the deal to ensure succession by his longstanding team, made up of directors Lawrence Pacey, Paul Spencer, Kully Toor, Stewart Friel and Kriston Harvey.

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Today’s Group and Landmark Wholesale propose £9bn merger

Foodservice and retail buying businesses Today’s Group and Landmark Wholesale have proposed a merger, pending approval from members in September. Landmark and Today’s are made up of 182 wholesalers which cooperate to enhance their buying power. The merger would create a new entity called Unitas Wholesale, with buying power of approximately £9.2bn and 1,460 stores. The move responds to a trend for consolidation in the sector, with Tesco merging with its biggest competitor Booker last year.

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Wright Industries acquires Accura

Technology investment group Wright Industries has acquired Willenhall-based precision engineering business Accura. The deal sees former CEO Craig Wright buy back the company after leaving in 2001. Founded in 1979, Accura provides critical components and sub-assemblies for a wide range of markets including aerospace, automotive, chemicals processing, communications, healthcare, industrial and oil and gas exploration. It has a turnover of £9m and employs around 95 people.

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