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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Bestseller acquires Toast

Danish fashion house Bestseller has bought Toast, the French Connection-owned homeware and women’s fashion brand. Toast has 13 stores across the UK and will retain its employees and management with the deal.

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The AA buys VCars

VCars has been acquired by The AA, cementing the long-standing relationship between the companies in The AA’s used cars portal AA Cars. AA Cars has 2,300 dealers on its books and over 130,000 vehicles listed in total. AA Cars will be chaired by AA CFO Martin Clarke.

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Entertainment One acquires Whizz Kid Entertainment

Toronto-based production company Entertainment One has acquired UK counterpart Whizz Kid Entertainment, a specialist in non-scripted television formats. The deal expands on the companies’ collaboration on the upcoming US version of ‘Ex on the Beach’, adapted for MTV from Whizz Kid’s hit UK show. As well as working on non-scripted shows such as ‘Ex on the Beach’ and ‘Let’s Dance’, Whizz Kid also works on live events, such as the BAFTAs. The transaction builds on eOne’s UK presence and broadens its family and brands business, which includes marquee property ‘Peppa Pig’.

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Boels Rental acquires Already Hire

Dutch equipment hire business Boels Rental has acquired Already Hire (London). Already Hire has four depots in Slough, Heathrow, Dartford and London City, taking Boels’ depot network to a total of 29 locations. Director and owner Jim McKeogh will stay on with the business while fellow owners Trevor Goodwin and Charles Patience retire.

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NewBay Media looks to Future

Future Publishing has acquired US content business NewBay Media. NewBay is an information and events business with bases in New York and London. It has a substantial b2b portfolio in verticals including audio visual, television broadcasting and educational technology, thus expanding Future’s coverage of sectors.

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Clarion Events acquires Pennwell Corp

UK-based exhibitions group Clarion Events has bought Pennwell Corp, an events and b2b marketing service company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founded over 100 years ago initially to serve the oil and gas industry, Pennwell today employs 550 people and manages over 40 exhibitions and conferences around the world. The company also publishes over 130 print and online magazines and newsletters offering content and integrated marketing solutions for industries including dental, emergency services, energy and industrial technology. Clarion Events is owned by funds managed by private equity investor Blackstone, having bought the business for around £600m in 2017.

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Optionis acquires First Freelance and First Umbrella

Professional services provider Optionis has acquired contractor accountancy firm First Freelance and its sister umbrella company First Umbrella. The acquisition strengthens Optionis’ position in the contractor accountancy and umbrella market, in which it currently owns six brands.

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Long Blockchain Corp buys DLT developer Hashcove

Nasdaq-listed Long Blockchain Corp (LBCC) has acquired Hashcove Limited, an early stage UK-based technology company that is developing globally scalable distributed ledger technologies. Hashcove is focused on creating a wide range of DLT solutions, including tokenised platforms, crypto-exchanges and wallets, smart contracts for initial coin offerings (ICO), know your customer (KYC) and financial clearing technology.

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InterQuest Group takes over finserv staffing firm

Specialist IT staffing firm InterQuest Group has acquired Albany Beck, a London-based banking and financial services staffing and consulting firm.  The deal provides InterQuest with new opportunities in the risk, regulatory and compliance markets, while offering a means for Albany Beck to expand via local offices in the UK and Germany.

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PPB acquires NE Plastics

Point-of-sale materials manufacturer and distributor PPB has acquired its rival NE Plastics. Both businesses specialise in fabrication, cutting and other finishing processes of plastics and boards. The deal pushes PPB’s turnover past the £30m mark and increases its headcount to almost 100 staff.

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