Co-op takeover offer backed by Nisa’s board
CONVENIENCE chain Nisa has recommended its 1,190 shopkeeper members agree to a £143m takeover from the Co-operative Group after four months of stop-start talks.
The Co-operative has said that it will pay £137.5m to Nisa members to buy 100pc of the business and cover deal costs of up to £5.5m. The Co-op will also absorb £105m of Nisa’s existing debt. Nisa members, who will be required to vote on any deal, will receive an initial equal payment, a deferred share payment over the next three years and additional rebates over four years if shopkeepers stay with the enlarged group.
The convenience chain, which includes 3,200 stores across the UK, will continue as a stand-alone brand under the terms of the deal, although members will have the option to sell their stores to the Co-op or become franchisees. The Co-op said that Nisa members would be able to expand their product ranges with Co-op branded fresh and chilled products and benefit from its bigger purchasing power.
The mutual has also stressed its member-owned credentials and offered Nisa shopkeepers independence to source ranges that suit their stores and be part of senior management meetings at a local level.
Recently, the Co-op’s food business recorded its 14th consecutive quarter of growth, reporting a 3.5pc rise in like-for-like food sales in the 26 weeks to July 1.
Co-op boss Steve Murrells has previously said that a Nisa takeover could bolster the group’s nascent wholesale business and would help the firm “grow scale and hold back inflation”.
“If our offer is accepted by Nisa members and approved by the CMA, we can deliver a win-win for two memberled, community-focused organisations,” said Jo Whitfield, the Co-op’s food boss.
Peter Hartley, chairman of Nisa, said the board was unanimous in its decision: “We firmly believe the combination with Co-op is in the best interests of members.”
Steve Murrells, the Co-op boss, said the tie-up would help the business ‘grow scale’