Heron Foods set for expansion after being bought by B&M in £152m deal
TOP OF THE SHOPS: Heron Foods opened its first store in Holderness Road, east Hull, in 1979. Today it operates 251 UK stores
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 Aug 2017
An East Yorkshire family firm that has created almost 4,000 jobs through its chain of discount food stores has been snapped up by a leading discount retailer.
Heron Foods has been bought by B&M in a deal worth up to £152m.
The convenience retailer, which is headquartered in Melton, opened its first store in Holderness Road, east Hull, in 1979.
Today, it operates 251 stores – a figure set to grow following this morning’s transaction.
Heron’s David and Andrew Heuck, who together with Michael Heuck currently manage and own the business, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces and working with B&M.
“Both companies share a vision to bring great value to customers and the combination of Heron’s skills with the expertise and resources of B&M will mean the creation of a potent new force in the structurally growing convenience sector.
“Today’s transaction secures for Heron’s loyal and hardworking workforce a perfect long term home within the B&M Group and provides an exciting platform for the roll-out of more Heron stores nationally.”
Employing 3,800 people, predominantly across the north of England, Heron sells products including ambient, frozen and chilled foods.
Last year the company clocked up revenues of £274.4m, with a pre-tax profit of £8.6m.
Michael Heuck is retiring from the business as planned, while Andrew and David Heuck remain in their existing trading and finance roles with Heron.
The business was acquired by B&M European Value through its subsidiary EV Retail Ltd.
B&M, alongside the existing Heron management team, will continue to expand and develop the Heron business, initially through the addition of between 10 and 20 new stores a year.
B&M paid an initial cash consideration of £112.1m on exchange. A further £12.8m may be payable later based on Heron Food’s earnings up to March 31, 2019.
“I look forward to working with David and Andrew Heuck and the Heron team to drive forward our shared ambition to deliver exceptional value for money to shoppers across the UK.”
Advising the shareholders on the deal was Andrew Funnell, who leads the corporate team at Hull-based Andrew Jackson Solicitors.
He said: "We welcome today’s announcement, and are pleased to have successfully delivered for our clients in such a significant acquisition for the region, which brought together multiple partners, shareholders and colleagues from across the professional services.”
The Andrew Jackson team worked closely with Deloitte, who provided Heron Food Group with financial services.
Mr Funnell, a Cleethorpes-born lawyer who is approaching 20 years with Andrew Jackson, having returned to the Humber region from London, added: "This deal marks the start of new era for one of the region’s most important retailers, and on behalf of the team at Andrew Jackson, we wish them every success. I’m delighted to see our corporate team a continue to thrive, with a clear focus on delivering exceptional legal services built around our clients' needs.
“We are very proud to be working with some of the region’s leading businesses, and to be taking an active role in helping them to realise their ambitions."
B&M chief executive Simon Arora said the acquisition will enable it to develop and roll out “a complementary, proven and profitable discount convenience grocery brand”.
The chain mostly sells products including furniture, toys and household appliances.