Deloitte advised Blackcircles.com on its sale to Michelin Group
Deloitte’s long-term relationship with the business underpinned successful transaction advice
Blackcircles.com, the UK’s leading online tyre retailer, was acquired by French tyre manufacturer, Michelin Group.
Blackcircles.com was founded by Mike Welch in 2001, and is a web-enabled retailer whose focus is on offering great customer experience, knowledgeable staff, range, convenience and competitive prices. It offers a ‘click and fit’ scheme which allows customers to buy tyres online and have them fitted by a garage near their home. The business model has continued to evolve with the addition of a franchise network and services aimed at small businesses.
Deloitte has supported Blackcircles.com since 2003, providing audit, assurance and tax advice to the business. Corporate Finance Advisory were introduced to the business early in this relationship and had followed the growth of the business. Mike won the Deloitte Emerging Entrepreneur of the year award in 2014.
In 2014, the management team was considering raising expansion capital to support the continued growth of the business. Deloitte’s existing relationship and understanding of the business helped us differentiate ourselves as advisers and was instrumental in us winning the mandate to advise the business.
Deloitte helped the business understand its options for raising capital, and initiated a process of going to market. Prior to the process starting in earnest, Blackcircles.com was approached by Michelin who was interested in acquiring the business to expand its online presence. It quickly became apparent that the strategic fit between the two businesses was very compelling.
Deloitte advised Blackcircles.com to consider Michelin’s approach, supported negotiations to reach agreement on deal terms and then managed the transaction process through to completion, including the provision of tax advice.
Michelin successfully acquired Blackcircles.com in April 2015 in a deal valued at £50m.
Mike Welch commented, “I’m delighted to have found in Michelin a partner who shares our passion for customer service, innovation and technology… The strength of the Michelin Group will allow us to underpin the multi-brand offering that we deploy in each garage, on every street corner. I am convinced that our teams, our customers, our garages and our suppliers will rapidly start to see the benefits of this partnership."
Commenting on Deloitte’s contribution, Mike said “Gavin and the team from Deloitte provided excellent support throughout the process, helping to inform and refine our thinking on what would be best for the business and our shareholders. The team’s management of the deal was instrumental in ensuring a successful completion, as was Gavin’s counsel at critical points in the process. This deal with Michelin will allow us to realise our growth aspirations. I really value having trusted advisers alongside on what has been a significant journey both professionally and personally.”