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Online giants with £300m+ turnover join forces

Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles have confirmed that they are to merge, creating an online cycling retail business with combined annual sales of more than £300 million.

Rumours that the UK's two leading cycling e-commerce sites were planning to join forces broke on Wednesday.

According to a joint statement from the companies, "the transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals, including merger control clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)."

Given that a high proportion of the turnover of both companies is derived outside the UK, where Halfords will remain market leader (it estimates it has between 20 and 25 per cent share) that should prove a formality.

Wiggle CEO Stefan Barden said: “In the global online retailing market in which we operate, there is a compelling industrial logic for our two businesses to come together to become a stronger force.

"We have long respected Chain Reaction Cycles as a business and share its values and commitment to delivering the best possible price and first class service for its customers. Like us they have a deep seated love of cycling.

"The combined business will offer all customers an extended range of brands and products, with Wiggle’s strength in tri-sports and road cycling complemented by Chain Reaction Cycles’ strength in mountain biking, BMX and road cycling too.

"The deal propels Wiggle faster towards its objective of building a global online champion and a major British export success story.”

Managing director of Chain Reaction Cycles, Chris Watson, said: “This is an exciting new chapter for the Chain Reaction Cycles brand.

"Since the business started in 1984, we’ve grown strongly from our mountain bike origins in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of more MTB, BMX and road cyclists across more countries.

"Coming together with Wiggle is a great way to continue that growth, as a global force in cycling and a leader in technology, eCommerce and innovation.”

Both businesses have their roots in local bike shops whose owners were quick to spot the opportunities offered by online, each launching their internet operations in 1999.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.