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THS reveals it supports Health Made Easy Group buyout offer

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The Health Store has confirmed it is supporting Health Made Easy Group – the owners of Tree of Life and Higher Nature – in its proposed buyout offer of the wholesaler.

The Health Store, which formed as a co-operative in 1932, demutualised in 2015 and created nearly 400 shareholders as a result.

The board of directors at one of the UK’s largest independent buying groups for independent health and wholefood retailers has now proposed a buyout offer to its shareholders and are seeking shareholder support to agree the acquisition. Shareholders have until August 2018 to decide whether to accept Health Made Easy’s offer for their shares.

The business’ board has now sent The Health Store’s shareholders details of an offer from Health Made Easy, a group of businesses that invest in health and wellbeing products. It owns the wholesaler Tree of Life, and most recently acquired Higher Nature.

In a press statement, it was said that the acquisition would see the existing shares purchased to allow the group and the existing board of directors to invest further into the business. If the bid succeeds, The Health Store intends to enhance service levels and provide more choice for their customers through access to thousands of additional complementary product lines across ambient, chilled and frozen ranges.

Tim Ryan, Managing Director of The Health Store, commented: “Our business has been at the forefront of sourcing natural and organic products for independent retailers for more than 80 years.

“While the business model we used when we were established had its benefits in our early years, since we demutualised, we have been able to drive our business forward and be much more focussed on planning for the years ahead.”

The statement went on to say that since 2015, The Health Store has been able to grow its business ahead of the market performance and has maintained its position as one of the leading suppliers in its category. By joining the group, The Health Store will become part of the Health Made Easy Group, whose subsidiaries include Higher Nature and Tree of Life.

Tim added: “We’re now really excited about the prospect of joining a larger family with some of the best players in their fields. The opportunity will not only allow us to share capabilities and experience, but also enable better buying power for our customers in the independent channel.

“Health and wellness products represent some of the fastest growing product categories in Britain, and the proposed deal will allow Health Made Easy to work with its businesses to support product innovation and premium service delivery.”

Mike Cole, Chairman of Health Made Easy, continued: “The proposal to bring The Health Store into our family of brands is a very exciting prospect to us and we hope our offer shows our long-term commitment to the industry.

“The independent channel is incredibly important to our sector and through this deal we hope to help drive the sector forward to help retailers access a much wider range of products that meet current consumer demands.”

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, all three businesses will continue to operate autonomously at their separate sites.

If Health Made Easy’s offer is successful, the acquisition could be complete as soon as autumn 2018.

* What do you think of the news? Email rachel.symonds@targetpublishing.com to share your views.

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