Groupon takes over Vouchercloud and Giftcloud

Deals and discounts website Groupon has acquired Cloud Savings Company, the owner of Vouchercloud and Giftcloud. The deal, with an enterprise value of $65m, allows Groupon to expand its international online discount code and loyalty programs. Cloud Savings Company operates in 11 countries, primarily the UK, and has more than 5 million subscribers. Based in Bristol, the business employs more than 100 people.

Pharmaceutical wholesaler Lexon UK has purchased retail pharmacy chain Vittoria Healthcare. The deal adds 11 pharmacies to Lexon’s portfolio, allowing the wholesaler to extend its reach to the North West and Wales. With this acquisition the business now owns 67 pharmacies across the UK. Lexon supplies to over 1,800 independent pharmacies across the UK and Ireland.

Engineering services group Renew Holdings has acquired QTS Group for £80m. Renew sees the Scotland-based rail contractor as strategically positioned to benefit from scheduled renewal and maintenance spending by Network Rail. The deal has been funded through a £45m share placement as well as a new £35m four-year loan from HSBC.

Accenture has moved to expand its Oracle Cloud digital transformation capabilities with the acquisition of Certus Solutions. The two companies have worked together previously on a large-scale Oracle Cloud rollout for the UK Home Office. Certus has won several big contracts with the UK Government, including for the Office for National Statistics and the Treasury. It employs 85 consultants and has headquarters in Guildford as well as operations in India.

Nationwide Window Cleaning and High Access Maintenance have merged to create a £30m FM services business. Both companies are backed by the Business Growth Fund, which has injected a further £5.5m into the combined company to support the deal. Since receiving BGF investment in 2014, NWC Group has increased revenue by £10m, quadrupled profits and grown its workforce to 320 people. High Access meanwhile has expanded in recent years to cover events maintenance at major sporting venues.

BT has announced plans to close its London headquarters of 144 years and axe around 13,000 jobs in a bid to make savings of £1.5bn. The new strategy is to focus on delivering new customer experiences and driving loyalty by converging product offerings and accelerating the rollout of superfast broadband and 5G. The company has allocated an increased £3.7bn a year for FTTP and mobile infrastructure investment, and expects to hire around 6,000 new staff primarily in customer service and engineering. Two-thirds of the 13,000 redundancies will be for UK staff, mostly in back office and middle management roles. BT has had a difficult 18 months following an accounting scandal which cost over half a billion pounds to clean up. The telecoms giant reported profits of £7.5bn, down 2%, and revenue down 1% to £23bn in the last financial year.

Kelda Water Services Defence has rebranded as Ancala Water Services following its takeover by infrastructure investor Ancala. Ancala Water Services will work in partnership with the Ministry of Defence on a £1bn 25-year public private partnership (PPP) contract to provide water and wastewater services to nearly 1,100 defence sites across England and Wales.

Accountancy firm PKF Cooper Parry has acquired West Midlands-based creative agency Sync Interactive. Sync specialises in mobile and business apps, as well as designing and developing UI and UX, games, illustration, packaging and brands. In the past three years, the company has grown rapidly to take its turnover from £1.5m to £8m, and workforce from 18 to just under 70 people. Its clients have included the BBC, Channel 4, the NHS, Peugeot and Unilever. Sync’s staff will move to PKF’s Park View office in Solihull following the deal.

Vodafone has sealed a £16.1bn (€18.4bn) deal to take over Liberty Global’s cable networks in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic. The acquisition allows Vodafone to expand its operations across Europe; the telecoms group currently only offers mobile services in the latter three countries. Liberty Global is the owner of Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, which it has no plans to sell.

Starbucks has announced that it is to form a ‘global coffee alliance’ with Nestlé to bring its packaged coffee to single serve capsule systems such as Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto. The £5.2bn licensing agreement also gives the world’s biggest food and drinks company the right to market Starbucks coffee at retail outlets outside the chain’s own cafés.

Renew Holdings buys Scottish rail contractor for £80m

Engineering services group Renew Holdings has acquired QTS Group for £80m. Renew sees the Scotland-based rail contractor as strategically positioned to benefit from scheduled renewal and maintenance spending by Network Rail. The deal has been funded through a £45m share placement as well as a new £35m four-year loan from HSBC.

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Accenture acquires Oracle Cloud specialist Certus Solutions

Accenture has moved to expand its Oracle Cloud digital transformation capabilities with the acquisition of Certus Solutions. The two companies have worked together previously on a large-scale Oracle Cloud rollout for the UK Home Office. Certus has won several big contracts with the UK Government, including for the Office for National Statistics and the Treasury. It employs 85 consultants and has headquarters in Guildford as well as operations in India.

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BGF backs NWC and High Access merger

Nationwide Window Cleaning and High Access Maintenance have merged to create a £30m FM services business. Both companies are backed by the Business Growth Fund, which has injected a further £5.5m into the combined company to support the deal. Since receiving BGF investment in 2014, NWC Group has increased revenue by £10m, quadrupled profits and grown its workforce to 320 people. High Access meanwhile has expanded in recent years to cover events maintenance at major sporting venues.

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BT to leave London HQ and axe 13,000 jobs

BT has announced plans to close its London headquarters of 144 years and axe around 13,000 jobs in a bid to make savings of £1.5bn. The new strategy is to focus on delivering new customer experiences and driving loyalty by converging product offerings and accelerating the rollout of superfast broadband and 5G. The company has allocated an increased £3.7bn a year for FTTP and mobile infrastructure investment, and expects to hire around 6,000 new staff primarily in customer service and engineering. Two-thirds of the 13,000 redundancies will be for UK staff, mostly in back office and middle management roles. BT has had a difficult 18 months following an accounting scandal which cost over half a billion pounds to clean up. The telecoms giant reported profits of £7.5bn, down 2%, and revenue down 1% to £23bn in the last financial year.

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Ancala acquires Kelda MoD contract

Kelda Water Services Defence has rebranded as Ancala Water Services following its takeover by infrastructure investor Ancala. Ancala Water Services will work in partnership with the Ministry of Defence on a £1bn 25-year public private partnership (PPP) contract to provide water and wastewater services to nearly 1,100 defence sites across England and Wales.

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PKF Cooper Parry syncs with Midlands creative agency

Accountancy firm PKF Cooper Parry has acquired West Midlands-based creative agency Sync Interactive. Sync specialises in mobile and business apps, as well as designing and developing UI and UX, games, illustration, packaging and brands. In the past three years, the company has grown rapidly to take its turnover from £1.5m to £8m, and workforce from 18 to just under 70 people. Its clients have included the BBC, Channel 4, the NHS, Peugeot and Unilever. Sync’s staff will move to PKF’s Park View office in Solihull following the deal.

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Liberty Global sells cable networks to Vodafone for £16.1bn

Vodafone has sealed a £16.1bn (€18.4bn) deal to take over Liberty Global’s cable networks in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic. The acquisition allows Vodafone to expand its operations across Europe; the telecoms group currently only offers mobile services in the latter three countries. Liberty Global is the owner of Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, which it has no plans to sell.

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Starbucks and Nestlé agree £5.2bn licensing deal

Starbucks has announced that it is to form a ‘global coffee alliance’ with Nestlé to bring its packaged coffee to single serve capsule systems such as Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto. The £5.2bn licensing agreement also gives the world’s biggest food and drinks company the right to market Starbucks coffee at retail outlets outside the chain’s own cafés.

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Calvetron Brands goes into administration

Jacques Vert and Precis owner Calvetron Brands has slumped into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk. Restructuring firm Duff & Phelps has been appointed administrator and begun the search for a buyer. The fashion group’s brands also include Dash, Eastex and Windsmoor, and are sold via 300 outlets including Debenhams and House of Fraser.

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Paragon Bank confirms talks with Titlestone

Mirroring CYBG’s announcement of its bid for Virgin Money, challenger bank Paragon has confirmed it is in talks to acquire residential development finance lender Titlestone. Launched in 2012, Titlestone has committed over £2bn across 300 developments in its first six years. Although no terms have yet been decided, Paragon Banking Group has stated that the potential acquisition forms a core part of its growth strategy, building upon its recent reorganisation and rebrand.

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