Nisa members accept Co-op takeover offer

David Rees

Nisa members have voted in favour of the takeover approach from the Co-operative Group.

A 75% proportion of shareholder votes cast was necessary in order to approve the takeover, and this was narrowly achieved, with the margin being 75.8% to 24.2%. More than 80% of individual shareholder members approved the transaction.

The offer requires clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year.

Reacting to the result, Sally Croft, owner of Nisa Local in Towcester, Northamptonshire, said: “There has been a huge amount of negativity from shopkeepers about this but at the end of the day, the vote has been carried so clearly there were lots of retailers who wanted change but didn’t necessarily want to be vocal about it.

“We are positive about the decision. It’s really hard out there. We need the backup of a solid supplier and we have to embrace change and do what is best for business.”

Rav Garcha, who owns five Nisa stores in the West Midlands, said: “I voted no because I thought Nisa could still fulfil our needs, but I’m not overly disappointed. You can see for the majority it’s the right decision.

“Looking at it positively, hopefully we’ll be part of a bigger network now. I got into retailing because it’s what I wanted to do, rather than being a Nisa retailer specifically, and that hasn’t changed. Only the supply chain has changed.

“I would hope that any promises made by the Co-op are upheld, especially the informal promises – for example, they said they would help with margins in the event of economic difficulties associated with Brexit. Overall, I’m confident the Co-op will help us grow.”

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.”

Co-op Food ceo Jo Whitfield 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.”

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