Concept has £5m LiteBulb moment

Betting tycoon Andrew Black is behind a multi-million pound acquisition of a Yorkshire stationery and party product developer.

Brighouse-based Concept Merchandise has been acquired by the LiteBulb group in a deal worth an initial £5m.

LiteBulb in which Mr Black the co-founder of Betfair owns eight per cent, started as the ILA group in 2009, specialising in the selling of discreet and personalised rape alarms before going on to develop a buy and build strategy of branded products, offering a range of items such as quirky Christmas socks and accessories for scooters.

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Simon McGivern, CEO of LiteBulb told

He said: “It’s not about cost savings it’s about growing the teams and the key attraction to us at Concept was they have a brilliant team.”

The acquisition will see current Concept owner Howard Partington remain as chief executive at the company.

Mr McGivern said: “Howard will be running the business and they will pretty much be deciding which areas to grow into and then the growth of staff will come from that.”

Both Concept and LiteBulb hope to capitalise on the cross-selling opportunities presented by this acquisition.

Mr Partington said: “It’s a win-win for both ourselves, LiteBulb and our customers. I’m sure we’ll continue to do well.”

The London based company hopes to strengthen its position in the stationery, gift cards and gift wrapping market with the acquisition of Concept.

Mr McGivern said: “They’re in a category where we’re very weak, we don’t sell into their product category. This acquisition gives us another string to our bow.”

Another investor in LiteBulb is past director of family firm Peter Black in Keighley, Gordon Black, who is no relation to Andrew.

He said: “I have now been an investor in and an adviser to LiteBulb for four years. They now have the breadth of product and skill base to command a meaningful presence in the market place.

“The addition of Concept to the group is a plus for all concerned.”

The deal is the fifth acquisition by LiteBulb in the past 18 months. It will be worth an initial £5m with £4.75m paid out in cash and £250,000 in shares. But this figure could potentially rise by £1.3m depending on EBITDA.

The West Yorkshire firm employs 17 people and has been profitable for the last six years and recorded a turnover of £7.5m, registering pre-tax profits of £1.1m for the year to December 2013.

This is the first year that LiteBulb has been profitable as a business with sales and committed orders as of October 31 standing at over £20m for the financial year.

The acquisition, which is LiteBulb’s first in Yorkshire, is subject to shareholder approval.