Seed firm Thompson & Morgan to remain in Ipswich following acquisition by BVG Group
Thompson & Morgan, one of the UK’s largest mail order seed and plant companies, has been sold by its private equity owner to a multi-channel retail group.
Ipswich-based Thompson & Morgan (T&M), which was founded in 1855, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by BVG Group, based at Brecon, Powys, which also owns the Clifford James brand.
T&M has been owned since 2002 by London-based Primary Capital Partners, which is understood to have made unsuccessful attempts to sell the Suffolk business in 2011 and 2015.
BVG, which also operates the Telegraph Shop and Mirror Reader Offers, said T&M would continue to be based in Ipswich, operatinig alongside its headquarters in Wales and a distribution centre in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.
A spokesman said: “BVG brings its strength in e-commerce and multi channel marketing to combine with T&M’s deep knowledge of all things horticultural.
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“T&M will continue to be run as a separate business with its current management team working with the team from BVG to explore opportunities to grow the business and to share best practice.”
T&M sells flower and vegetable seeds, young plants, bulbs, nursery stock plants, fruit, potatoes and garden accessories through a variety of channels including catalogue, online, retail, reader offers and promotions and TV shopping.
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Primary Capital said that T&M had more than doubled in size over the course of its investment in the company, through “steady organinic growth and some small acquisitions”.
The value of the sale represented return of 2.9 times the cost of investment for Primary’s second fund, it added.
Peter Jacobs, who led the original deal for Primary and represented its interests throughout the period of the investment, said: “We are pleased that T&M has been sold to a strategic buyer in BVG Group and wish everyone involved with T&M all the best for the future.”
Bryan Magrath, chief executive of T&M, added; “Primary have proven to be excellent partners for the T&M business over the past few years. They fully supported our plans and backed us in all our initiatives and objectives.”
Accounts filed at Companies House show that Thompson & Morgan Group Holdings generated turnover of £33.969m in the year to June 30, 2016 and a pre-tax profit of £587,000, compared with a loss of £1.611m the previous year.
BVG said that, including T&M, the enlarged group would have annual sales of around £140m.