Nisa mem­bers give go-ahead to Co-op’s £137.5m takeover

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

NISA RE­TAIL mem­bers have given the green light to the Co-op Group’s £137.5m takeover of­fer, with over 75 per cent vot­ing in favour of the deal.

It helps pave the way for Coop’s plans to ac­quire 100 per cent of the con­ve­nience store op­er­a­tor, which has around 1,200 shop­keeper mem­bers run­ning over 3,200 stores, as­sum­ing the deal is cleared by UK au­thor­i­ties.

The re­tailer said it ex­pects the takeover to be ap­proved by the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity (CMA) by the end of March 2018.

Around 24.21 per cent of Nisa’s shop­keeper mem­bers voted against the Co-op’s of­fer dur­ing a meet­ing in Leeds, but the com­pany as­sured that mem­bers will ex­pe­ri­ence “sig­nif­i­cant im­me­di­ate and long-term ben­e­fits” fol­low­ing the deal, gain­ing ac­cess to Coop la­belled prod­ucts and “greater scale”.

A com­bined en­tity would see the num­ber of stores the Co-op sup­plies al­most dou­ble to 7,000, from 3,800 out­lets, but un­der the terms of the deal, Co-op will re­tain Nisa as a stand­alone busi­ness and brand, as well as take on £105m of its debt.

“Mem­bers will still en­joy the in­de­pen­dence to op­er­ate their stores as they wish, and will be able to re­main part of a mem­berowned or­gan­i­sa­tion within the grow­ing UK con­ve­nience re­tail sec­tor,” Nisa said.

Nisa chair­man Peter Hart­ley said he was “de­lighted” that mem­bers voted in favour of the deal in “such sig­nif­i­cant num­bers”.

The move would help safe­guard the brand dur­ing a trans­for­ma­tional pe­riod for the in­dus­try, he added.

“We as a board are firm in our be­lief that a com­bi­na­tion with the Co-op is in the best in­ter­ests of Nisa’s mem­bers.

“The con­ve­nience store en­vi­ron­ment is chang­ing rapidly, and is un­recog­nis­able from that which ex­isted when Nisa was founded more than 40 years ago.

“Co-op will add buy­ing power and prod­uct range to our of­fer­ing, while re­spect­ing our cul­ture of in­de­pen­dence.”

The deal comes as the su­per­mar­ket sec­tor is in flux fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of Tesco’s £3.7bn merger with whole­saler Booker, which is cur­rently un­der­go­ing its own Com­pe­ti­tion and CMA probe.

Booker said last month that it ex­pects the deal to close by early 2018. In Oc­to­ber, Nisa re­ported a 12.4 per cent rise in to­tal sales to £728m for the first half of the year.

PIC­TURE: PA

PLENTY IN STORE:

Nisa shop­keep­ers have been told they will still en­joy their in­de­pen­dence af­ter the Co-op takeover.

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