Department store group Beales is set to acquire 19 stores owned by Anglia Regional Co-operative Society (ARCS) for £7.5 million, according to a statement published today
If given the green light the deal would represent a reverse takeover under Listing Rules, and Beales CEO Tony Brown said the proposed acquisition marks “a step change” in the development of the retailer as it looks to expand its UK operations.
Beales has requested that trading in its ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange be suspended pending approval by the UK Listing Authority and publication of a combined circular and prospectus.
Shareholders will be asked to vote on the acquisition at an impending extraordinary general meeting, after which the company will seek readmission to the stock exchange.
Brown commented: “We are very pleased that we have been able to reach conditional agreement with ARCS for the acquisition of these 19 stores.”
Trade union Usdaw said today’s announcement came as “a shock” to its members, but suggested that the deal could prove to be a positive move for all parties.
It said that it expects all staff members of the 19 affected stores, except those who work in the AHF Furniture, Travel, Optical and Hairdressing concessions, to transfer to Beales with their existing employment contract protected under TUPE regulations.
Sharon Ainsworth, Usdaw National Officer, said: “Usdaw believes the deal could be in the best interests of staff and may help secure the long-term future of the business.
“Beales is a dedicated department store company with over 100 years of history and experience behind them and they have clearly been looking for further opportunities for growth.”
The acquisition of these ARCS stores would take Beales property portfolio from 13 to 32 department stores.