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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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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BDO in merger talks to become UK’s fifth largest auditor

BDO has revealed it is in advanced talks with Moore Stephens over a potential merger. The deal, which would boost BDO up a spot to become the fifth largest auditor in the UK, would create a firm with 5,000 employees and £560m in revenues. BDO aims to be the market leading advisor to mid-sized and AIM businesses while also challenging its larger competitors for more complex work. While this deal would add c. £180m in revenue to BDO’s balance sheet, it would still leave it some way off the so-called ‘Big Four’, the smallest of which, KPMG, turns over around £2bn in the UK. BDO hopes to benefit from the dented reputations of its larger rivals following a series of high profile auditing scandals in recent years, including BHS and Carillion.

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Secret Escapes acquires TravelBird

Shortly after filing for bankruptcy, Amsterdam-based agency TravelBird has been taken over by the Secret Escapes Group, acquiring its IP, IT platform and customer base. With brands including Secret Escapes, Travelist and Slevomat, the group is the world’s leading online travel deals company with over 62 million users worldwide.

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CTI Digital completes management buyout

CTI Digital has completed an MBO from its umbrella company Paperhat Group, buying back the 54% share that Paperhat acquired in 2015. CTI Digital has 75 staff and serves a wide range of clients such as McGaw-Hill Education, Merlin Entertainments and the Royal Navy. The deal closely follows in the footsteps of Paperhat Communications, which was also sold by Paperhat Group days earlier to Paragon Group in a pre-pack deal.

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Langlands Garden Centre completes MBO

Family-owned firm Langlands Garden Centre has been acquired by its founder’s grandson for an undisclosed sum. With sites in Leeds, Sheffield and York, Langlands employs over 180 staff and has a turnover of c. £7.5m. The business sells plants and garden furniture, as well as diversifying into giftware, farm shops, café bars and eating outlets in recent years.

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Hotelbeds to buy HolidayTaxis Group

Hotelbeds has agreed to acquire HolidayTaxis Group for an undisclosed sum. HolidayTaxis is a leading provider of taxi and shuttle solutions, primarily for airport to city and resort transfers. Founded in 2002, it operates 21,000 transfer routes spanning 150 countries. The deal complements Hotelbeds’ ancillary business unit ‘Beyond the Bed’, which provides transfers, activities, tickets, car hire, travel insurance and specialist tours.

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Seattle pet-sitting startup acquires European rival

Pet-sitting platform Rover.com has bought London-based competitor DogBuddy, a dog boarding, day care and walking business with 25,000 registered sitters. Coming only five months after its entry into the UK, the deal accelerates Rover’s growth in Europe.

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