Co-op buys Nisa for £143m after members back takeover

The Co-op has clinched the £143m takeover of Nisa, with just over three-quarters of the convenience chain’s members voting for the deal.

The deal got support from 75.8% of Nisa’s members, slightly more than the 75% required to succeed, with 80% turnout. The remaining 24.2% voted against the takeover at a meeting held at Leeds United Football Club’s Elland Road stadium.

There was a sense of relief at Nisa – with the meeting described as “fairly orderly” after a series of stormy shareholder meetings. About 60 members turned up, with the rest casting proxy votes online.

The board recommended last month that the 1,190 shopkeepers who own Nisa accept the deal. It includes £20,000 up front as well as deferred payments worth more than £410,000 for those who own 250 shares in Nisa, the maximum allowed.

The Co-op offer values Nisa at about 20 times its current share price. In total, there are about 60,000 shares in issue, with Nisa members each owning between one and 250.

The Nisa chairman, Peter Hartley, said: “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.”

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, added: “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.”

The deal still has to be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected to happen at the end of March.

Nisa said the deal gave the combined group seven times the buying power of Nisa. Shopkeepers will be able to choose how much they buy from the Co-op.

Nisa’s members include entrepreneurs running small chains, giving the business a network of 2,400 stores. The Northern Independent Supermarket Association was launched in the late 1970s, aiming to “protect the interests of independents against the insurgence of the national supermarket chains”.