Tag Archive | "private equity"

EVANS CYCLES TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE EQUITY OWNERS

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EVANS CYCLES TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE EQUITY OWNERS


Evans Cycles is to be sold by its private equity owner ECI Partners.

The cycle chain has been making a loss over the past two years, although ECI has perused a strategy of expansion.

At the time of writing bids have been invited for the firm, with Halfords being reported by Sky News as being among the front runners.

Halfords itself set up the Cycle Republic chain as a rival to Evans Cycles in 2014. Halfords has previously stated an aim for Cycle Republic is to double the number of branches.

In general terms, cycle retail on the High Street has been under pressure as there has been a willingness by consumers to buy mid to high-end bikes from non-traditional outlets, such as Go Outdoors or from sports shops such as Triathlon. Low-end family bikes have been under pressure from online retailers such as Wiggle, which one retail survey put as the UK’s second largest cycle retailer in August

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GARAGE AGGREGATOR WHOCANFIXMYCAR SECURES £4M INVESTMENT

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GARAGE AGGREGATOR WHOCANFIXMYCAR SECURES £4M INVESTMENT


Garage comparison site Whocanfixmyfar.com has secured £4 million from investors including Shell Ventures, Sir Trevor Chinn, Active Partners and Venrex Investment Management.

The site was launched in 2011 by two former investment bankers, Al Preston and Ian Griffiths, and has since become the biggest online marketplace for drivers and garages in the UK. The company has offices in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Kiev.

Shell  has invested via its corporate venture capital arm, Shell Ventures, which supports both business and fund-led deals in areas of strategic interest for the parent company. This investment follows the development of the Shell Helix Service Specialist Network, a recently launched scheme which allows independent workshops on the aggregator site to be officially associated with Shell.

Other investors include Active Partners, which has stakes in household names such as Evans Cycles, Rapha, Leon and Soho House. Venrex Investment Management is another stakeholder and has previously invested in Just Eat, Not on the High Street and Revolut. Sir Trevor Chinn, who is the chairman of the website has also invested.

Al Preston, Co-Founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said: “This is a really exciting time for the company. The whole team have worked extremely hard to bring the business to this point, where we can attract such interesting partners for our next stage of growth”

“The plan will be to keep scaling our activities and consolidate our position in the UK. We are also focusing on new products and solutions that will further benefit our garage network and provide car owners with a better, richer experience when it comes to car maintenance and repairs.”

Commenting on the announcement, Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Vice President for Global Commercial, Shell, said:

29209815 – firewall and antivirus concept with a laptop inside a crystal sphere

“The aftermarket sector is changing rapidly as technology savvy customers seek products and services which are easier and more convenient to use. Shell wants to be at the forefront of shaping those products and services.  Digital and services partnerships such as this investment in WhoCanFixMyCar.com are very much part of our future growth strategy.”

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100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES

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100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES


A hundred management, admin and support roles are to go at the AA, plus the closure of the National Training Centre at Melton Mobray, according to documents seen today by CAT. Roadside patrols will not be affected.

In a memo to staff dated January 10 2018, the AA said: “We are today announcing a series of proposals involving restructuring of management and administration in a number of functions across the AA, with the exception of our frontline delivery teams in roadside operations and contact centres”. The memo added that the proposals are aimed at ‘reorganising and focusing accountability on our emerging strategic priorities’, as well as reducing ‘layers of management’ in order to reduce cost to fund frontline services.

Formed in Edwardian times, the AA has been struggling with the level of debt for years. In 2007 private equity group Acromas bought the company, but sold it in 2014 in a complex ‘accelerated float’ management buy-in, with £1bn of backing from 10 investors. The company was publically listed, but saddled with £2.7bn of debt. Share value dropped in August 2017 following the firing of Chief Executive Bob Mackenzie for gross misconduct.

Paul Grafton, Regional Organiser for the GMB Union said; “The closure of national training centre will reduce structured training and in our view impact on quality of service delivered by the patrol force”.

“All these cuts are a direct result of the unsustainable levels of debt left by the previous private equity owners” he said, adding: “It looks as if the latest activity is to squeeze the last drop out of the business before franchising”.

Figures show that the costs of financing the debts are £185m per annum in the last published accounts. Servicing the debt took up 66 percent of the Operating Profit of £284m for the year ending 31st January 2017.

In addition, the union says that the AA’s pension deficit is £622m, which in pound note terms is nearly double the £345m deficit that brought the demise of BHS.

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AUTODATA ACQUIRED BY SOLERA HOLDINGS

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AUTODATA ACQUIRED BY SOLERA HOLDINGS


Autodata_5v1

Vehicle info firm Autodata has been acquired by Texas-based software company Solera Holdings Inc. The transaction amount is reported to be £340m.

Solera acquired the firm from private equity firms Bowmonk Capital and Five Arrows who in turn bought the company for a reported £143m through a competitive auction in 2014.

The Texan firm already owns Carweb which is the company behind E3 Technical, one of the other vehicle info services in the UK.

Founded in 1975, UK-based Autodata has evolved from publishing  do-it-yourself manuals for car enthusiasts and garages, to delivering  cloud-based diagnostics and repair info for professional technicians.

“Today’s motorists expect automotive service professionals not only to understand every vehicle make and model, but also to provide a faster and more accurate service at highly competitive prices,” said Rod Williams, CEO of Autodata. “Joining the Solera family will not only amplify Autodata’s ability to meet the growing needs of the industry, but will also provide our customers and partners with access to Solera’s highly innovative mindset and forward-thinking solutions.”

“Vehicles are not only being driven longer than ever before, but are becoming more technologically advanced and digitally sophisticated,” said Tony Aquila, Solera’s founder, Chairman and CEO. “The SMR industry must be prepared to manage this evolution in mobility with the right mindset, equipment and training. Solera’s integration of Autodata will accelerate delivery of the data and software that the global SMR marketplace needs today, as well as the innovative technologies and solutions that the industry will need tomorrow.”

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MILLBROOK GROUP ACQUIRED FOR £122m

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MILLBROOK GROUP ACQUIRED FOR £122m


millbrook bus

Millbrook Group, the UK’s primary testing ground for vehicles, parts and tyres has been acquired by Spectris PLC for a reported £122m.

The acquisition means that Spectris, a company involved in metering and measurement equipment, can look to providing Millbrook with modern hardware and software suitable for testing components and systems that will be fitted to coming generations of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The deal also includes a subsidiary business called Test World. This operation is based in Finland and specialises in testing snow tyres and winter products in the Arctic Circle.

Under the previous ownership of private equity group Rutland Partners, Millbrook has seen its stock rise over the past few years. Rutland acquired the facility from General Motors in 2013 and introduced a new senior management team lead by CEO Alex Burns with an eight-fold increase in underlying earnings following a £20m investment. Burns and his team will remain in place under the new owner.

Eoghan O’Lionaird, Business Group Director at Spectris, said: “Millbrook represents our largest purchase to date of a pure testing services business. It is closely related to our existing instrumentation businesses and, as such, the acquisition is an important step forward.”

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VALEO ACQUIRE FTE AUTOMOTIVE

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VALEO ACQUIRE FTE AUTOMOTIVE


valeo fte stitchThe owner of hydraulic component firm FTE Automotive has announced that the company is to be sold to Valeo, subject to the usual legalities.

Established in the late 1940s, the firm has been owned by a number of private equity companies in recent years. Current owner Bain Capital acquired it in 2013 from PAI Partners. In turn, PAI acquired the company in 2005 from HG Capital who had owned it since 2002. HG acquired it from Dana Corporation.

In  recent times, FTE AutomotiveThe company won the 2016 PACE Award (premier Automotive Supplier’s Contribution to Excellence) for its lubrication oil pump and the PACE Innovation Partnership Award for its cooperation with a major German OEM.

 

Rothschild and Goldman Sachs advised Bain Capital on the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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