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Zyro and Fisher Outdoor Leisure announce merger

Private equity-backewd deal creates business with £70m turnover

Two of Britain’s longest established distributors in the cycling trade have joined forces to create Zyro-Fisher, which will have combined annual sales of £70 million.

The deal was put together by Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity branch LDC, which backed a management buyout of Zyro and purchase of Fisher Outdoor Leisure, merging the two businesses.

LDC says that Fisher’s specialisation in distribution of components coupled with Zyro’s strength in supplying retailers such as Halfords, Evans and Wiggle as well as independents – it also owns the Altura brand – means the businesses complement each other.

It is planned that the combined operation will be based at the Darlington premises of Zyro, which was founded more than 20 years ago. St Albans-based Fisher, meanwhile, traces its heritage back to 1934.

Fisher’s CEO James Browning, who becomes chairman of the new company, said: “Our industry is clearly entering a consolidation phase and I am delighted with the combination of these two strong and complementary companies to create a scale player able to offer future-proof service and solutions to its partners.”

Zyro director Matthew Barker becomes CEO of Zyro-Fisher, while the company’s founders, Simon and Julie Ellison, join the board of the new business.

Simon Ellison commented: “We are very excited about the future of the combined business. It brings together a very powerful portfolio of brands, while the separate sales and brand management structure will ensure we continue to offer the best brand and customer focus in the industry.”

John Garner, Head of LDC Yorkshire & North East, added: “This is an exciting development for the combined business, its brand partners and its customers, creating a company with a truly differentiated proposition in terms of scale, reach and value-added services. Together, the board and management team bring an unrivalled level of expertise, which will help to deliver a clear growth strategy in an evolving sector. ”

Following recent deals such as the merger of online retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction, the sector in the UK is undergoing consolidation, with the growing popularity of cycling here making businesses operating in the market an attractive investment for private equity firms.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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