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Stax strengthen delivered arm with acquisition of Wishart.

Friday 27 May 2011 | Industry news

Stax Trade Centres plc has today announced the acquisition of Edinburgh based DF Wishart & Co Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Edinburgh based Wishart, which turns over between £6m and £7m per annum, is a delivered wholesaler and has been supporting the independent retailers of Scotland and the North East of England for over 150 years. Wishart product offering complements that of Stax Trade Centres.

Stax Trade Centres makes the acquisition to strengthen its delivered business and the recent growth of the garden sector business, as well as the expansion of its own brand Supa.

Edinburgh born Stax Chairman, Eddie Brady, a passionate Scot says,
“Wishart are a ‘perfect fit’ with the Stax Group. We have been looking at how we could support Scottish retailers for a number of years. Wishart gives us that long sought after presence in Scotland and provides a platform for the expansion of Supa in that area. It will enable us to strengthens our product offer especially in gardening, and gives us better logistics to service the Scottish retailers and garden centres who are already buying from Stax. We have recently become a preferred delivered supplier to over 1,300 N.M.B.S. members who will also benefit from this. Wishart also has a similar ethos to Stax in that it is a well established family run company with strong values.”

Stax says it’s going to be business as usual for Wishart, who will be run by George Gardner, the current Sales and Marketing Director. They will continue to trade under the Wishart name, there will be no redundancies and as the operation expands they will be looking to create more jobs.

Brady comments,
“This is good news for customers of Wishart. Stax buying power means that we will negotiate better prices, so retailers will get a better deal. What’s more the Stax range is larger than Wishart so customers will benefit from more choice. It’s a win-win situation.”

“On a personal level I am delighted that part of the Stax group will now be operating from my home town and am looking forward to spending more time north of the border.  I would also like to welcome the current employees of Wishart to the Stax group.”

Ex Wishart Chairman, Kenneth-Paterson-Brown, commented,
“We are very pleased that Stax has acquired the business and will take it forward for the benefit of both the customers and staff. On behalf of the Wishart family, we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to all our customers and staff and we wish them the very best for the future.”

The acquisition was made possible by Alexander & Co, acting as financial advisors to Stax, with Neil Myerson LLP heading up the legal team.

The Alexander & Co team, led by partner Stephen Verber, assisted Stax with negotiating the financial terms of the deal and carried out the financial due diligence.

Stephen Verber says,
“Alexander & Co have been advising Stax since assisting with their MBO in 1986 and that this acquisition demonstrates the management team’s long term ambitions to build on their current Top 300 North West companies position. Wishart will provide an excellent base to continue expansion in Scotland.”

The Neil Myerson team advising on the deal was led by corporate partner Carl Newton and corporate solicitor Philip Kenny.  Neil Myerson were assisted on Scottish property matters by Janice Napier of fellow Scottish MSI Global1 member, Thorntons LLP.

Commenting on the deal, Carl Newton said,
"We were delighted to advise Stax on this deal.  The acquisition of Wishart expands Stax’s footprint even further (expanding on its well established sites in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol) and now gives it a very significant presence in Scotland.  Stax is looking forward to building on the success of the former owners and to further entrench Wishart relationship with the local councils in Scotland and other important Scottish retail customers."