Tuffnells Parcels Express has been acquired by newspaper and magazine distributor Connect Group for £113.4m.

The MT Top 100 company has been purchased by Connect Group as part of the latter’s diversification strategy. Connect plans to generate half of its profit from operations outside the magazine and newspaper wholesaling business and move into time-sensitive and specialist distribution.

Tuffnells’ holding company, The Big Green Parcel Holding Company, will sit within Connect’s Smiths News Holdings subsidiary -  although the deal allows Connect to cancel the takeover if it wishes up to 1 Janauary 2015 if certain conditions are not met.

On completition, Tuffnells will operate as a separate business within Smiths News Holdings.

In a statement issued today (12 November), Connect said the deal will allow resources to be shared between its divisions and Tuffnells. This will include making deliveries for Smiths News’ Pass My Parcel venture, which involves delivering parcels into newsagents for customers like retailer Amazon.

Safe home

Tuffnells chief executive Lloyd Dunn said: "The current Tuffnells business plan has been enthusiastically embraced by the new owners. This includes an exciting expansion programme of the existing infrastructure with a further six new depots being opened during the next two years and complete new re-builds of the current Sheffield and Stafford depots.

"The famous Big Green Parcel Machine vehicle livery will remain and Connect Group will provide a safe home for Tuffnells Parcels Express for the next part of its so far successful 100 year journey,” added Dunn.

Connect added that it does not expect to see any significant reductions in headcount at Tuffnells. However Dunn is expected to retire around March 2016 after his successor is appointed.

Tuffnells’ current management team are expected to remain with the company and will continue to be involved in the everyday running of the business.

Mark Cashmore, Connect Group chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be announcing the acquisition of Tuffnells today, which we believe offers significant strategic and commercial opportunities for the enlarged group. The addition of Tuffnells will see us broaden our reach into an area of specialist distribution which complements our core skills and competences of time sensitive distribution with high levels of service and efficiency.”

In the year to 31 December 2013, Tuffnells had a turnover of £127m with an £8.5m pre-tax profit. See the MT Top 100 in the 10 November issue for more. Or download our digital edition from Pocketmags,  The Apple store or for Kindle.