John Menzies has sold its Menzies Distribution business to a private equity investor, Endless LLP for £74.5 million.
Menzies Distribution has a turnover of £1.1 billion and employs some 3,700 people across 56 sites distributing more than seven million newspapers and magazines each day.
The deal follows the collapse of a plan to combine Menzies Distribution with DX Group last year, after Gatemore Capital, DX’s largest shareholder came out against the scheme.
John Menzies then put the business up for sale, but in May 2018 warned that a sale was taking longer than expected. In a trading update, the group said: “As detailed in our final results a sale process for Menzies Distribution is in progress, this process is taking longer than we anticipated but we remain fully engaged with a number of potential buyers.
Menzies Distribution’s strategy is to focus on its core business of being the partner of choice for publishers while growing in adjacent markets. Two years ago the company began a diversification strategy harnessing its UK and Ireland network capabilities to work with national parcel carriers and provide innovative solutions for the retail sector.
Managing director Greg Michael said: “This is great news for Menzies Distribution. While it’s business as usual, becoming an independent company enables us to be in control of our own destiny and reinvest to fulfil our ambitious growth and diversification plans for the business.
“The recent major UK-wide primary trunking contract to collect and deliver all daily and regional weekly newspapers printed by Reach plc is as an example of our successful diversification strategy in action.”
Aidan Robson, partner at Endless said: “Menzies Distribution represents Endless’ largest investment to date and is a hugely exciting acquisition.”
The deal leaves John Menzies as a pure-play aviation services company. Chief executive Forsyth Black said: “I believe we are well-placed to deliver our growth ambitions in the structurally growing aviation services market and I am very proud to now lead the business forward as its CEO together with the support of my team.”