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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White Oak completes LDF takeover

US-based credit fund manager White Oak Global Advisors has completed the acquisition of LDF Group. LDF operates an asset-based lending platform, providing £500m of financing to small UK businesses in 2017.

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Walstead acquires LSC Poland

European commercial printing group Walstead has completed a deal for Europe’s seventh largest web offset printer, LSC Poland. Established in 1994, LSC Poland produces advertising flyers, magazines, catalogues and in-store POS solutions. It has over 430 customers across 34 countries and turned over €200m in 2017. The enlarged Walstead group will have revenues exceeding €730m and employ over 4,400 staff.

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ehB Commercial and Reeves and Partners announce merger

Commercial property consultants ehB Commercial and Reeves and Partners have announced a merger, consolidating management portfolios valued together in excess of £100m. The combined firm will trade as ehB Reeves and be based in Leamington.

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Progeny expands in South with Evolve acquisition

Progeny has announced the acquisition of Evolve Financial Planning. With offices in Croydon and the City, Evolve provides financial and investment planning for a primarily Home Counties-based client base. The deal pushes Progeny’s assets under advice past the £1bn mark.

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Future to buy digital publisher Purch

Future Publishing has proposed a takeover of the consumer division of Purch, a digital publishing and marketplace platform covering the technology and science verticals. The deal significantly boosts Future’s US revenues, rebalancing its profits from the two-thirds UK weighting in its most recent financial report. Purch’s B2C websites include Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, TopTenReviews, ShopSavvy, Live Science and Space.com.

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MRI Software completes third UK acquisition

Estate agency software provider MRI has completed a deal for CML Software. Based in Reading, CML Software offers residential agency, block management and build-to-rent solutions. The deal expands upon MRI’s acquisitions of Qube and Real Asset Management last year and cements its position as the largest commercial real estate software provider in the EMEA region with over 2,500 clients.

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Gas Tag makes solid deal for gas safety consultants

Regtech company Gas Tag has acquired the Millington Lord Group, owner of independent gas compliance consultants Morgan Lambert and Qualitas Compliance. Morgan Lambert provides gas and electrical auditing and safety services to the UK social housing sector, while Qualitas Compliance offers similar services to the private sector.

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UCB seals deal for ACPI Investments

Swiss bank Union Bacaire Privée has agreed to acquire ACPI Investments, an independent London-based investment management company, and ACPI IM in Jersey. ACPI offers fixed income, equities, alternative investments and tailored wealth management for private and institutional investors. The deal pushes UBP’s total assets under management past £100bn.

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Staffline takes over LDA from Learndirect

Staffline has completed the acquisition of apprenticeship levy provider LDA from Learndirect. LDA will be integrated into PeoplePlus, Staffline’s skills and training division, increasing its market share within the apprenticeship levy market to c. 10%. The combined company will have around 5,000 apprentices currently on programme. The news follows the takeover of Learndirect by DTS last month, which reportedly prompted an exodus of senior executives from LDA to Staffline.

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Stonegate Pub Company acquires another 48 bars

Stonegate Pub Company has acquired cocktail bar chain Be At One for a reported £50m. Be At One is the operator of 33 bars in prime high street town and city locations. It has 17 sites in London as well as representation in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Reading. Be At One will remain a standalone format within Stonegate’s portfolio, retaining its management team and head office staff with only founding directors Rhys Oldfield, Steve Locke and Leigh Miller moving on. In tandem with this news, Stonegate has announced the exchange of contracts for 15 London-based bars from Novus Leisure. The acquisitions take Stonegate’s portfolio to a total of 739 operating venues.

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