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Co-op steps up Nisa acquisition with £143m offer

The Co-op Group has stepped up its move for convenience grocery chain Nisa with a £143 million offer, subject to approval from the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).

The offer consists of buying 100% of the shares in Nisa for up to £137.5 million, plus a further £5.5 million in associated costs.

Nisa, which operates as a member-owned wholesale and retail company, has unanimously recommended the offer to its shareholders, who would receive an equal initial payment, along with a deferred share payment payable over a three-year period and additional rebates payable over four years.

“The Co-op offers the right blend of buying capability, convenience expertise, and respect for the heritage of our business, to enable our members to fully thrive in this new partnership,” commented Nisa chairman, Peter Hartley.

As part of the deal, the Co-op would also take on the existing Nisa debt of £105 million.

Discussing the deal, Co-op Food chief executive, Jo Whitfield, said: “Over the past three years, Co-op Food has been completely transformed through a convenience-led focus on delivering great value products for our members and creating real value for them and their communities.”

“Co-op and Nisa have achieved so much on their own to support local communities, but together I believe we can go from strength to strength.

“If our offer is accepted by Nisa members and approved by the CMA, we can deliver a win-win for two member-led, community-focused organisations, and in the process create a distinctive footprint within the growing UK convenience retail sector.”

Co-op plans to keep Nisa’s 3,200 stores as a standalone business and brand.

Nisa staff denied bonus despite hitting targets

Convenience chain Nisa has angered staff by refusing to pay out annual bonuses, despite hitting annual performance targets.

The company, currently at the centre of a possible £130 million takeover talks with Sainsbury’s, told 280 head office staff that there would be no bonus payment, despite an 18% increase in underlying profits to £8.6 million.

Last year the store shared £2.2 million amongst staff members, including a £300,000 bonus for chief executive Nick Read.

Staff have complained of feeling “betrayed” and demotivated at the loss of the bonus.

Sainsbury’s acquired Argos parent company Home Retail Group last year for £1.4 billion, adding to its portfolio. The proposed deal with Nisa would offer the grocer access to 3,000 convenience stores across the UK.

Some 75% of Nisa’s 1,400 members, who each own between one and 250 shares in the group, must vote in favour of selling the business for the deal to go ahead. Members are currently divided between those that have voiced concerns about the prospect of the takeover by Sainsbury’s, and those that are keen to be part of a bigger group with better bargaining power

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Sainsbury’s poised for Nisa purchase

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is set to acquire convince store chain Nisa in an exclusivity deal thought to be worth in the region of £130 million, preventing

Nisa from speaking with other rivals companies, such as The Co-operative Group.
However, before the deal can go ahead the agreement needs to be put in front of Nisa’s 1,400 members, with a 50% plus majority needed for it to be finally approved. Nisa currently buys and distributes on behalf of more than 2,500 independently owned stores around the UK.

Nisa has been under pressure in recent years from budget brands such as Poundland. Sainsbury’s, on the other hand, has deployed an ambitious strategy to regain ground lost to budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, with the £1.4 billion acquisition of Argos parent company Home Retail Group proving to be a success.

The Telegraph reports that Nisa has been working with bankers at Lazard and has narrowed the list of potential buyers to Sainsbury’s and the Co-op.

Sainsbury’s bid is thought to be more attractive than its competitor Co-Op, and is now asking Nisa to sign an exclusivity deal that will prevent them from entering into further conversations with other bidders.