Nisa members back Co-op's £137.5m buy-out offer

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 13 Nov 2017

Nisa Retail members have voted three to one to accept The Co-op Group’s offer to buy-out the business in a £137.5 million deal.

At a meeting held in Leeds today, a total of 75.79 per cent voted in favour, with the board having unanimously recommended it back in October

The offer now requires clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year. 

Nisa chairman Peter Hartley said: “We are delighted that our members have chosen in such significant numbers to vote in favour of Co-op’s offer. We as a board are firm in our belief that a combination with 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.”

Nisa shareholders will receive an equal initial payment, a deferred share payment payable over three years, as well as additional rebates payable over four years. 

Along with taking on the existing Nisa debt of £105 million, the combination is expected to bring significant immediate and long-term benefits for Nisa members including access to greater scale, The Co-op’s award-winning range, and own label proposition. Members will still enjoy the independence to operate their stores as they wish, and will be able to remain part of a member-owned organisation within the growing UK convenience retail sector.

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food said: “We are delighted that Nisa members have supported our offer and our ambition to create a stronger member-led presence within the UK convenience sector. Together Co-op and Nisa can go from strength to strength, serving customers up and down the country and creating real value for them in their communities. Our offer remains conditional on CMA approval and we remain in discussions with them.”

A total of 1,100 people are employed in Scunthorpe, with Nisa Retail directly at the head office on Waldo Way and via the distribution and logistics partner DHL, in the huge neighbouring warehouse.

Nisa was co-founded 40 years ago by Grimsby businessman Dudley Ramsden, bringing bulk buying benefits to independents as the battle with supermarket giants for the retail pound ramped up.

He stepped down as executive chairman 11 years ago.

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