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UK convenience retailer Nisa has announced that its members have voted in favour of the Co-op Group’s offer to buy 100% of the business for up to £137.5 million.
Members voted 75.79% in favour and 24.21% against the Co-op’s offer. The deal requires clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year.
The announcement follows the recommendation last month by the Nisa board of directors to approve the deal.
Along with taking on the existing Nisa debt of £105 million, the deal is expected to bring significant immediate and long-term benefits for Nisa members, including access to greater scale, the Co-op’s range and own label proposition.
The company said that its 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.
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 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.”
Jo Whitfield, CEO 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.”
The acquisition would bring clear benefits for the Co-op, allowing it to strengthen its presence in the wholesale convenience sector, while extending the reach of the Co-op brand.
Co-op plans to retain Nisa as a standalone business and brand, which has around 1,190 members and services 3,200 stores. The ambition is to attract new members to the combined business. In its latest half-year results, Nisa saw it sales rise by 12.4% to £728 million.
Earlier this year, Tesco acquired wholesaler Booker for £3.7 billion, to create one of the largest combined food businesses in the UK. Other supermarkets have consequently sought to expand in the wholesale sector as a response to the deal.
The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests spanning food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services. Owned by over 4.5 million members, the Co-op has 3,800 outlets across the UK. It employs around 69,000 people and has an annual turnover of over £9.5 billion.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020