Rippleglen snaps up Northcliffe retail

Rippleglen, a Birmingham-based CTN operator, has acquired Northcliffe Retail, the news shops arm of Daily Mail and General Trust, with 61 outlets in the Midlands and the North, for £8.2 million.

The acquisition will boost Rippleglen to a total of about 220 stores, with a combined turnover of some £200 million.

Mike Colley, who joined as managing director of Rippleglen in 2003 after a 26-year career at Stars News Shops, commented: “Northcliffe Retail is a well run and maintained business which will fit comfortably within our portfolio.

“The acquisition of these CTN shops will help us to cross-fertilise our product offering and will also enhance the news side of our business, helping to reduce dependency on tobacco, which is a declining market.”

Accountancy and consultancy firm Mazars provided tax advice and support to the purchasers.

Tax partner at the firm, Phil Waller, said: “We have acted for Rippleglen for many years and have worked with them on each of their acquisitions to ensure maximum advantage was taken of transactions from a tax perspective.

“As is usual with any transaction, there were a number of issues that needed to be negotiated and taxation had a significant impact for Rippleglen on this transaction.

“Having discussed the issues with the management at an early stage, we were able to assist in the delivery of a transaction to mitigate what could have been significant tax liabilities going forward.”

Northcliffe Retail was established in 1978. Its 61 outlets are situated throughout Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Lincolnshire, trading under the Mercury News Shops, Post News Shops and Telegraph News Shops franchises.

Northcliffe Retail, with stores trading under the Mercury News Shops, Post New Shops and Telegraph News Shops, had a turnover of £35 million in the year to Jan 2007.

In terms of branch numbers Rippleglen is the second largest CTN business in the UK, employing around 1,000 people. It trades under the Arden News, Supernews and Supercigs franchises in the Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and North and South Wales.

Rippleglen was established in 1980 by Harry Medcalf after he left confectionery company Mars. His aim was to create a business containing 25 shops within 10 years. By the start of 1990, he had opened 26, but an acquisition in May that year increased the number of shops to 52 – more than double his original target one month before it expired.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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