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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260 jobs saved in Canburg acquisition

US real estate developer Gary Barnett has saved 260 jobs at Canburg, the owner of luxury furniture brands Brookmans, Mark Wilkinson and Smallbone. The acquisition has been made via a new entity Sapphire 700. Canburg’s existing management team will remain in place at its Devizes head office.

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Simpson Millar back on acquisition trail

Lancashire law firm Simpson Millar has sealed a second deal in three months with its takeover of JWK. The acquisition forms part of a £50m investment strategy that has seen it recently launch a new website and corporate identity. JWK has 50 staff based in three offices in Lancaster, Morecambe and Southport.

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CRG Healthcare takes over Allied Healthcare contracts

One of Britain’s largest home care providers has been sold after nearly going bankrupt. Allied Healthcare, which provides services to 13,500 people across 150 local authorities, as well as out-of-hours GP services for the NHS, has been bought by Health Care Resourcing Group, which trades as CRG Healthcare. On 5 November, Allied Healthcare issued a warning to local authorities that it could not guarantee to deliver services past the end of the month. Since then, many local authorities have sought to transfer services to other providers, meaning it is unclear exactly what CRG takes over with this deal. Allied Healthcare employs 8,700 people. It had to agree an emergency rescue plan with creditors in May, with local authority budget cuts, April’s minimum wage rise and staffing issues cited as factors.

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Tango Networks seals deal for Simetric Telecom

Tango Networks has acquired Simetric Telecom, a leading UK provider of mobile services and telecommunications solutions. The deal broadens Simetric’s market reach and solutions proposition for enterprise mobile communications.

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Palatine Private Equity backs CET UK

Palatine Private Equity has completed a secondary buyout of CET UK, a specialist provider of infrastructure and property assurance services. Established in 1989, CET is headquartered in Castle Donington and employs more than 470 people. With Palatine taking a majority stake, it aims to use investment to develop new technology to streamline its claims management and investigation division. It also plans to roll out additional material testing laboratories across the UK and advance its buy-and-build strategy with the extra support.

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Prodis completes MBO

Prodis, a leading UK supplier to the catering and hospitality sector, has completed a management buyout led by MD Anthony Faulkner. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Prodis provides own-brand refrigeration equipment for bar, storage and display, as well as ice-makers, glasswashers, dishwashers and other catering equipment. It is also a supplier for brands such as Icematic, Samsung and Whirlpool.

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William Jackson Food Group acquires Belazu

William Jackson Food Group, which sold Aunt Bessie’s earlier this year, has snapped up Belazu Ingredient Company. Starting out as the Fresh Olive Company, Belazu has expanded to become a specialist in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, providing a range of antipasti, grains, pastes and vinegars. Belazu employs c. 150 people and reported turnover of £31.4m in 2017. It is William Jackson’s second acquisition in the premium ingredients segment this year, following Wellocks in June.

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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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