Nisa appoints new CEO as Co-op Group completes its acquisition

'The mood among our retailers is one of excitement as we look forward to life together with the Co-op'

The Co-op Group’s £137.5m acquisition of Nisa was officially completed yesterday, 8 May, after being given court sanction.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the deal in April following an investigation into whether the transaction would result in a situation which might cause “substantial lessening” of competition within the markets.

Ken Towle, a former Tesco manager and director, has been announced as the new chief executive of Nisa, with immediate effect. He will replace Arnu Misra who performed an interim CEO role, overseeing the completion of the acquisition.

Nisa chair Peter Hartley said: “I am delighted that the court has sanctioned the wishes of our members … The mood among our retailers is one of excitement as we look forward to life together with the Co-op.

“Our attention now turns to the future, and ensuring the benefits of the transaction are quickly passed to our members and their customers.”

However the week before the merger, a group of disgruntled shopkeepers calling themselves ‘Justice for Nisa’ made a last-ditch attempt to stop the takeover by hiring a lawyer to represent them at the court hearing.

The group, which is thought to represent 20 to 30 shopkeepers, has written to other shareholders advising them of their plan. “Since the vote was forced over the line by a minute majority, a group of members have been working hard to create a valid and worthwhile representation to the court hearing, objecting to the takeover on a number of grounds,” they wrote in an email published by the Guardian.

“There appears to be an ever increasing number of shareholders who regret the decision to sell and a swell of support to challenge the completion.”

In the new deal Nisa’s 1190 shopkeepers will receive £20,000 up front from Co-op, alongside deferred payments worth more than £410,000 for those owning more than 250 shares in Nisa.

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