Aldi exceeds £10bn in sales for the first time

Aldi has revealed it acquired more than a million new customers last year, as it hit sales exceeding £10bn for the first time. Profits at the German supermarket chain grew to £265m in 2017 while sales grew again with the opening of 70 more stores. Aldi has been steadily eating into Tesco’s massive market share over the last ten years, prompting it to launch a rival low-price brand called Jack’s in September. Aldi has plans to open 130 more UK stores in the next two years, creating 5,000 jobs.

Communications giant WPP has announced the creation of VMLY&R, a new media agency formed from a merger of digital agency VML and advertising agency Y&R. Founded in 1923, Y&R is a big name in the industry, responsible for creating the proprietary brand management tool BrandAsset Valuator. VML meanwhile is a global full-service marketing agency that has been named entertainment agency of the year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for two years in a row. Set to be operational from early 2019, VMLY&R will be an agency of some 7,000 people. It will be one of WPP’s principal brands, utilising its constituents’ strengths in creative, technology and data services.

The company behind Bestival and Camp Bestival has been bought only days after falling into administration by entrepreneur James Benamor. Benamor’s company Richmond Group has acquired Bestival Group’s assets and brand for £1.1m having already lent it £1.6m in February. Benamor is the founder of Amigo Loans, which floated on the stock exchange in July at more than £1bn. Richmond Group has a 61% stake in Amigo.

Japanese snack food manufacturer Calbee has bought Seabrook Crisps. Founded in 1945, the Bradford-based food firm employs over 130 people and recorded revenue of £24.5m in 2017. The deal sees an exit for LDC, which backed an £35m MBO at the snack maker in 2015.

Global pharmaceutical group Clinigen has agreed to buy CSM Parent, a provider of packaging, labelling, warehousing and distribution services based in Europe and the US. Clinigen will pay an initial £114m for the firm with another £69m payable on the condition of it meeting certain targets. In tandem with this announcement, Clinigen has also revealed the acquisition of Swiss-based pharma firm iQone Healthcare, a specialist in oncology, immunology and bones & tissues, for £6.7m.

Covéa Group has sold Manchester insurance firm Swinton Group to personal lines broker the Ardonagh Group for £165m. Covéa intends to refocus on underwriting with the sale, aligning its UK business model more closely with its operations in France and elsewhere. Swinton is the UK’s largest personal lines broker, with a focus on motor and home insurance. Its turnover exceeded £220m in 2016.

Yorkshire steel business BPC Building Products has been acquired by Vista Engineering, a manufacturer of wall ties, fixings and other products. Based in Derbyshire, Vista Engineering employs more than 60 people and turned over £11.7m in the last financial year.

UK-based software group Ideagen has acquired Morgan Kai Group for £20.5m. With operations in Leeds and Chicago, Morgan Kai provides audit management software to public and private sector customers. It currently generates £5.3m in revenue with £3.2m recurring, and has over 370 clients. The acquisition is a boost to Ideagen as a net exporter, with 28% of Morgan Kai’s customers in the US and 77% of them abroad overall.

SSE has taken full ownership of Seagreen Wind Energy, buying the 50% of the business it didn’t already own for $155m from Fluor. The Crown Estate recently awarded Seagreen exclusive rights for the Firth of Forth Zone of the UK’s Round 3 offshore wind farm development programme. Seagreen is expected to build a wind farm with capacity of up to 1.5GW off the east of Fife, although has only been granted permission for 1.05GW so far. SSE currently has an output of 1.7GW from off and onshore wind projects, which is just under 10% of the UK total. A merger between SSE’s retail arm and npower was provisionally cleared in August, which would see the UK Big Six become a Big Five.

UK ID card business Digital ID Group has been acquired by US counterpart Alphacard. The deal creates the world’s largest ID card company with 360 employees posted across offices in 11 cities worldwide. The partnership is expected to create 40 jobs over the next three years. Established in 1990, Digital ID is headquartered in Stockport with offices in London, Amsterdam and Gothenburg.  The fast-growing firm recorded revenues of £17.9m in 2017.

Aldi exceeds £10bn in sales for the first time

Aldi has revealed it acquired more than a million new customers last year, as it hit sales exceeding £10bn for the first time. Profits at the German supermarket chain grew to £265m in 2017 while sales grew again with the opening of 70 more stores. Aldi has been steadily eating into Tesco’s massive market share over the last ten years, prompting it to launch a rival low-price brand called Jack’s in September. Aldi has plans to open 130 more UK stores in the next two years, creating 5,000 jobs.

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WPP merges VML and Y&R to create new agency

Communications giant WPP has announced the creation of VMLY&R, a new media agency formed from a merger of digital agency VML and advertising agency Y&R. Founded in 1923, Y&R is a big name in the industry, responsible for creating the proprietary brand management tool BrandAsset Valuator. VML meanwhile is a global full-service marketing agency that has been named entertainment agency of the year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for two years in a row. Set to be operational from early 2019, VMLY&R will be an agency of some 7,000 people. It will be one of WPP’s principal brands, utilising its constituents’ strengths in creative, technology and data services.

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Richmond Group bails Bestival out of administration

The company behind Bestival and Camp Bestival has been bought only days after falling into administration by entrepreneur James Benamor. Benamor’s company Richmond Group has acquired Bestival Group’s assets and brand for £1.1m having already lent it £1.6m in February. Benamor is the founder of Amigo Loans, which floated on the stock exchange in July at more than £1bn. Richmond Group has a 61% stake in Amigo.

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Seabrook Crisps acquired by Japanese food company

Japanese snack food manufacturer Calbee has bought Seabrook Crisps. Founded in 1945, the Bradford-based food firm employs over 130 people and recorded revenue of £24.5m in 2017. The deal sees an exit for LDC, which backed an £35m MBO at the snack maker in 2015.

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Clinigen Group announces double acquisition

Global pharmaceutical group Clinigen has agreed to buy CSM Parent, a provider of packaging, labelling, warehousing and distribution services based in Europe and the US. Clinigen will pay an initial £114m for the firm with another £69m payable on the condition of it meeting certain targets. In tandem with this announcement, Clinigen has also revealed the acquisition of Swiss-based pharma firm iQone Healthcare, a specialist in oncology, immunology and bones & tissues, for £6.7m.

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Covéa Group sells Swinton Insurance for £165m

Covéa Group has sold Manchester insurance firm Swinton Group to personal lines broker the Ardonagh Group for £165m. Covéa intends to refocus on underwriting with the sale, aligning its UK business model more closely with its operations in France and elsewhere. Swinton is the UK’s largest personal lines broker, with a focus on motor and home insurance. Its turnover exceeded £220m in 2016.

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Vista Engineering buys BPC Building Products

Yorkshire steel business BPC Building Products has been acquired by Vista Engineering, a manufacturer of wall ties, fixings and other products. Based in Derbyshire, Vista Engineering employs more than 60 people and turned over £11.7m in the last financial year.

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Ideagen seals £20.5m deal for Morgan Kai Group

UK-based software group Ideagen has acquired Morgan Kai Group for £20.5m. With operations in Leeds and Chicago, Morgan Kai provides audit management software to public and private sector customers. It currently generates £5.3m in revenue with £3.2m recurring, and has over 370 clients. The acquisition is a boost to Ideagen as a net exporter, with 28% of Morgan Kai’s customers in the US and 77% of them abroad overall.

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SSE picks up rest of offshore wind firm

SSE has taken full ownership of Seagreen Wind Energy, buying the 50% of the business it didn’t already own for $155m from Fluor. The Crown Estate recently awarded Seagreen exclusive rights for the Firth of Forth Zone of the UK’s Round 3 offshore wind farm development programme. Seagreen is expected to build a wind farm with capacity of up to 1.5GW off the east of Fife, although has only been granted permission for 1.05GW so far. SSE currently has an output of 1.7GW from off and onshore wind projects, which is just under 10% of the UK total. A merger between SSE’s retail arm and npower was provisionally cleared in August, which would see the UK Big Six become a Big Five.

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Digital ID Group acquired by US firm

UK ID card business Digital ID Group has been acquired by US counterpart Alphacard. The deal creates the world’s largest ID card company with 360 employees posted across offices in 11 cities worldwide. The partnership is expected to create 40 jobs over the next three years. Established in 1990, Digital ID is headquartered in Stockport with offices in London, Amsterdam and Gothenburg.  The fast-growing firm recorded revenues of £17.9m in 2017.

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