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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Solotech agrees deal for SSE Audio Group

North American AV and entertainment technology company Solotech has agreed to buy SSE Audio Group. The group will continue to be headed by founder John Penn in the UK, and its brands SSE Audio, Capital Sound, Wigwam and Sigma Products will be retained. The deal will allow Solotech to accelerate expansion in Europe with a comprehensive service including sales, rentals and integration.

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Cisco to buy UK software firm Ensoft

Network technology giant Cisco has agreed to acquire software solutions provider Ensoft. The takeover seeks to help Cisco simplify service provider networks through automation and programmability. Ensoft employs 71 people and turned over £10.1m in the last financial year.

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OVO Energy appointed to take over Spark Energy

OVO Energy has been appointed by Ofgem to take over Spark Energy’s 290,000 customer accounts. Spark Energy ceased trading after it was handed a £14m bill by the energy regulator for non-payment of its renewable power obligation. It is the seventh energy supplier to go bust this year, with smaller challenger firms under pressure amid rising wholesale costs and competition. OVO Energy has entered into a conditional agreement to buy the business, and has committed to protecting its operations and teams in Edinburgh, Horsham and Selkirk. Spark Energy employs around 400 staff, including 300 at its Selkirk HQ.

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Edenred acquires UK fuelcard firm

French mobility and fleet solutions provider Edenred has acquired The Right Fuelcard Company, the UK’s fourth largest fuelcard program manager, for £95m. TRFC has a portfolio of 27,000 corporate clients covering 150,000 cardholders. Its users are able to fill up at 90% of UK service stations.  The company expects to generate EBITDA of £11m in 2018.

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dnata acquires AI specialist bd4travel

Big Data for Travel (bd4travel) has been acquired by air services provider dnata. bd4travel is a tech firm that provides AI-driven IT solutions to online travel agencies. Based in Germany and the UK, its services allow agencies to engage with anonymous customers and personalise their experience in real-time. The firm runs more than 40 separate sites, serving leading players in 17 markets. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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Atlas North Holdings announces double acquisition

Atlas North Holdings, the owner of Pneumatic and Hydraulic Couplings (PHC), has completed a double acquisition for AirCat and Special Air Services. Based in Hull, AirCat owns distribution rights to products from fluid power manufacturer IMI Precision Engineering. Special Air Services in Long Eaton, meanwhile, maintains and services the equipment the companies sell, allowing the group to provide a comprehensive service.

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North West Roofing Group acquires Cumbrian firm

Cumbrian business Solway Slate & Tile has been bought by North West Roofing Group for an undisclosed sum. Solway is an owner-operated merchant of roofing supplies and materials covering the North of England and Southern Scotland. The deal is projected to boost North West Roofing’s turnover past £22m.

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Venture Stream takes over Flow Digital

Newcastle web development and digital marketing agency Venture Stream has acquired Flow Digital for an undisclosed sum. The deal boosts its headcount to 25 and annual billings past £1.3m.

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Ineos to buy composites business for £860m

Chemicals giant Ineos has agreed to acquire the composites business of Ashland Global Holdings for $1.1bn (£860m). Ashland is a global leader in unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins and gel coats, which are used to build boats. The deal includes businesses generating a total $1.1bn of sales each year, employing 1,300 people across 20 sites worldwide. Ineos is owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is the UK’s richest man with an estimated fortune of £21bn.

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Portman Dental Care acquires Scottish practice

Portman Dental Care has acquired Caledonian Dental Care, one of Scotland’s largest privately-owned dental businesses. Caledonian consists of two dental practices with 19 surgeries in Perth and has c. 40,000 registered patients. The acquisition marks Portman’s sixth in Scotland this year so far. The group increased turnover by 42% to £43.7m in 2017.

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