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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Vacation Rentals UK acquires Mulberry Cottages

Vacation Rentals UK has expanded its self-catering holiday portfolio with the acquisition of Mulberry Cottages. The agency’s roster already includes English Country Cottages, Salcombe & Dartmouth Holiday Homes, Cumbrian Cottages and Blue Chip Holidays.

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Furniture designer Alphason acquired by Dorel Industries

UK home office and audio-visual furniture designer and distributor Alphason has been acquired by Dorel Industries’ European home furnishings division. The deal provides Dorel with a new base in the UK, as well as a distribution hub to serve its growing European business.

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Travel company PGL bought in £467m deal

HB Education, the holding company of children’s adventure holiday business PGL, has been offloaded by Cox & Kings for £467m. Midlothian Capital Partners and a consortium of investors has bought the group with Ares Management financing the deal. This company is the third consumer business MCP has moved for in the last two years, after its purchases of Dobbies Garden Centres in 2016 and Park Leisure last year. HB Education owns 26 regional activity centres in the UK, France, Spain and Australia and generated £160.6m in revenue in 2017. As well as PGL, the deal also includes Travelworks and Studylink.

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Phillips 66 adds four filling stations to roster

Multinational energy firm Phillips 66, the owner of the JET trademark, has added four sites in the North of England to its portfolio with the acquisition of NJB Services. The deal also sees the operation of a filling station in Immingham transfer to the firm. All five sites are already JET supplied and branded, and in close proximity to Phillips 66’s Humber Refinery.

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Oka Direct makes first acquisition

Dallas furniture and home decor retailer Wisteria has been bought by UK-based lifestyle brand Oka Direct. Both companies started as catalogue order businesses; Wisteria has two sites while Oka now has 14 stores and a design services arm. Oka, which was co-founded by Lady Astor, was acquired by Italian private equity firm Investindustrial in January. This takeover is the first in its 20-year history.

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Crest Process Engineering joins AxFlow

AxFlow has acquired Crest Process Engineering, a supplier of pumps, spares, systems, equipment, service and repairs in South West England and South Wales. Its expertise in fluid handling and service support complements AxFlow’s four service and repair centres in Aberdeen, Durham, Huddersfield and Slough. The deal means AxFlow now employs 95 people, including 30 service and workshop staff.

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Ceuta Group acquires Click Consult

Search marketing agency Click Consult has been bought by Ceuta Group, an £88m-turnover consumer brand services specialist. The deal expands its SEO and digital marketing capabilities and provides the group with cross-selling opportunities.

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US firm buys Communisis for £154m

Listed Leeds-based marketing services business Communisis has been bought by OSG Bidco, an independent provider of outsourced omnichannel billing, critical communications and payment solutions, for £153.8m. The combination with the private equity-owned firm provides Communisis with scale, a global presence and enhanced digital technology capabilities.

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eBay buys Motors.co.uk to take on Autotrader

eBay has announced the takeover of Motors.co.uk from Cox Automotive. Motors.co.uk is a leading classifieds site for buying and selling used cars. It will be integrated into Gumtree UK once the deal closes. The acquisition means eBay overtakes the UK market leader Autotrader in terms of listings, with more than 620,000 across eBay Motors UK, Gumtree UK and now Motors.co.uk.

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CB Chartered Accountants merges with Haines Watts

CB Chartered Accountants has merged with Haines Watts as the national accountancy firm progresses its expansion plans. The deal sees managing partner John Painter join the group along with his team of ten. CB’s Worcester and Tewkesbury offices will be rebranded with the latter becoming Haines Watts’ first permanent base in Gloucestershire.

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