Yodel has been acquired by YDLGP, a consortium which includes 29-year-old entrepreneur Jacob Corlett, founder of Shift, the tech-based delivery firm which bought Tuffnells in June last year.

Its new owners plan to form a “disruptive logistics powerhouse” serving both the parcels market through the Yodel business, and larger, irregular dimensions and weights (‘IDW’) freight through the Tuffnells brand, all underpinned by Shift’s AI driven technology platform.

The consortium added that the deal will also safeguard thousands of UK jobs.

The purchase sees Yodel narrowly avoid insolvency. The parcel delivery firm, which is owned by the Barclay family and employs around 10,000 workers, was last week reported to be in talks with insolvency specialists Teneo, after struggling to find a buyer.

YDLGP’s purchase, for an undisclosed sum, sees it take on Yodel’s client base which includes Very.co.uk, Wren Kitchens, Gousto, Vinted, Whistl and Argos, The parcel delivery firm makes more than 190 million deliveries annually from its 47 customer delivery depots and three sortation hubs.

For the year ended 31 December 2023, Yodel generated £561.8m and has recently added new clients including Boden and Zalando.  

YDLGP, which also includes investment bank Solano Partners, has also agreed terms to acquire the entire issued share capital of Shift.

Shift operates a tech-based platform, providing customers on-demand delivery services via smart algorithms that filter through the pre-existing routes of registered independent truck and van drivers and fleets of vehicles, locating drivers best suited to take on the job.

This is the fifth acquisition Shift has been involved in since it was launched. In 2021 it bought Courier Direct, JLF Moving Solutions and tech firm Techlogico, aided by a funding round which raised £10m to fuel both acquisitive and organic growth.

In April 2023 Shift also bought German firm Movinga, a European home-move and relocation marketplace. Based in London Shift counts both Ikea and Homebase among its clients

Mike Hancox, Yodel chief executive, said: ”We’re extremely excited to begin the next chapter of Yodel’s journey, leveraging the scale of our business with the support of new shareholders and the future benefits of the Shift technology platform.

”Our customers have always been our priority and the transaction announced today allows us to ensure continuity for them, as well as our employees and wider stakeholders.” 

Jon Edirmanasinghe, Solano founding partner, added: ”We believe there is a fantastic opportunity to harness the strong brand and scale of Yodel in the UK and take further market share with the support of fresh capital and the innovative technology provided by the Shift team.

”We’ve seen the Shift team successfully acquire and relaunch the Tuffnells business and believe that forming the enlarged group to house all three creates a disruptive logistics powerhouse.” 

Jacob Corlett, Shift founder and chief executive, said:I am incredibly proud of what we have built at Shift in the last few years, rapidly scaling our tech-logistics platform, and M&A has been a big part of that success.

”At the heart of this merger is Shift’s revolutionary AI-driven technology platform, promising a future where efficiency and automation become the backbone of logistics operations. I look forward to working with Mike and the Yodel team, and with the support of YDLGP, continuing our journey building and scaling logistics through technology.”