Members of Nisa Retail, the wholesale and convenience store specialist, have voted significantly in favour of a £137.5m buy-out of the business by Co-op Group.
At a meeting today (Monday) in Leeds, members voted 75.79 per cent in favour and 24.21 per cent against the Co-op’s offer.
The offer still requires clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority, expected around the end of March next year.
Nisa is a member owned organisation, helping give greater buying and bargaining power to a string of independent grocers stores in the growing convenience sector.
Nisa supports nearly 1,200 local retailers and more than 3,200 stores across the UK. Locally that includes the Nisa Local at Caroline Road in Metheringham. There is also a Lincolnshire Co-operative food store in the village - not controlled by the Co-op Group.
Some stores operate under the Nisa brand and others under their own names. Nisa supplies the stock they need and the retail support that helps them to grow their business.
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 unrecognizable 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.”
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 £105m, 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 brands. 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.
The Co-op Group has 3,800 outlets in communities across the UK, employs around 69,000 people and has an annual turnover of over £9.5 billion.