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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ANS Group bolsters cloud app offering with Webantic acquisition

Cloud services provider ANS Group has bought Webantic, a cloud transformation and development specialist based in Manchester. This deal improves ANS Group’s end-to-end managed service offering, allowing customers to not only migrate and manage their applications, but develop next generation digital business applications in the public cloud.

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Hammerson to buy Intu for £3.4bn

Retail property manager Hammerson, owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, is to acquire smaller rival Intu for £3.4bn. The deal will create the UK’s largest property company, worth £21bn. Intu owns the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, and will provide Hammerson with exposure to two of Europe’s fastest growing economies in Ireland and Spain. The enlarged group will be called Hammerson plc and will be led by CEO David Atkins and CFO Timon Drakesmith. Shares in Intu jumped by nearly 19% with the news, while Hammerson’s fell by 3%.

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Alliance in Partnership acquires The Contract Dining Company

Alliance in Partnership has acquired rival education catering specialist The Contract Dining Company in a bid to expand its reach in the South East. Established in 2004, The Contract Dining Company provides catering services to 53 schools in Kent, delivering over 8,000 dinners a day. It employs 230 people and will retain its management team, including founder Anne Winn, on the completion of this deal.

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Wabtec acquires turbocharger business Melett

Melett, a UK-based supplier to the turbocharger aftermarket, has been bought by Wabtec Corporation, a provider of products and services for freight and transit rail and other industrial sectors with revenues exceeding £30bn. Melett has operations in the UK, continental Europe, North America and China and provides turbochargers and repair parts to customers in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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Shaw Trust takes over Prospects Group

National charity Shaw Trust has acquired Prospects Group, a £90m turnover provider of skills, education, care and support in sectors ranging from children’s services and justice to education and employment. Combined, the group will have a workforce of over 3,200 staff and a turnover of £250m.

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Toys “R” Us to close 26 UK stores

Toys “R” Us plans to close 26 of its UK stores as part of a restructuring plan. The closures will begin in spring 2018 and will result in the loss of 800 jobs. The loss-making company says that the warehouse-style stores it opened in the 1980s and 1990s are too big and expensive to run in the current retail climate. In future it will focus on smaller interactive stores and its website.

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AFH Financial Group buys J W Wealthcare

AFH Financial Group has continued a recent acquisitions spree with the purchase of J W Wealthcare, an advisory business based in the South East. The deal adds approximately £300,000 of recurring revenue to the business and sees head of the firm John Walpole join AFH as an adviser.

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iomart acquires web hosting firm Sonassi for £16.5m

Sonassi has been bought by AIM-listed cloud services specialist iomart for £16.5m. Sonassi delivers high performance, secure and scalable solutions for complex, high traffic websites using Magento and Oro technology. Founded in 2008, Sonassi originally built websites based on the Magento eCommerce application but has since developed its own operating system called MageStack, engineered specifically for Magento and OroCommerce.

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Cineworld considering £2.7bn move for Regal Entertainment

Cineworld has announced that is looking into a potential £2.7bn deal with the second largest cinema chain in the US, Regal Entertainment. The United States remains the world’s largest cinema market, although China is expected to overtake it in the next couple of years.

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DPA Microphones makes sound investment

DPA Microphones has bought Sound Network, a UK-based pro audio distributor with whom it has worked for 20 years. DPA’s decision to buy Sound Network was prompted by the retirement of founders Pete Wandless and Ralph Dunlop. The company’s workforce will remain otherwise unchanged, as will its distribution arrangements with manufacturers that include Meris and Sony Pro Audio.

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