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Wiggle, Chain Reaction merger will create $400 million-plus e-commerce giant

Published February 12, 2016

LONDON (BRAIN) — U.K. e-commerce businesses Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycle confirmed Friday that they will merge, pending regulatory approvals. The combined businesses will have annual revenues of more than 300 million pounds ($434 million).

"In the global online retailing market in which we operate, there is a compelling industrial logic for our two businesses to come together to become a stronger force," said Stefan Barden, Wiggle's CEO, who will head the combined companies.

"We have long respected Chain Reaction Cycles as a business and share its values and commitment to delivering the best possible price and first-class service for its customers. Like us, they have a deep-seated love of cycling. The combined business will offer all customers an extended range of brands and products, with Wiggle's strength in tri-sports and road cycling complemented by Chain Reaction Cycles' strength in mountain biking, BMX and road cycling too. The deal propels Wiggle faster towards its objective of building a global online champion and a major British export success story."

Chris Watson, managing director of Chain Reaction Cycles, said: "This is an exciting new chapter for the Chain Reaction Cycles brand. Since the business started in 1984, we've grown strongly from our mountain bike origins in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of more MTB, BMX and road cyclists across more countries. Coming together with Wiggle is a great way to continue that growth, as a global force in cycling and a leader in technology, e-commerce and innovation."

The transaction will have to be approved by the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority and other authorities. 

Wiggle traces its origins to a small independent bike shop called Butler Cycles that opened in Portsmouth in the 1920s. It was an early adopter of e-commerce and later changed its name to Bikes @ Butlers and then to Wiggle. It was acquired by private equity investment company Bridgepoint in December 2011.

Chain Reaction began in 1984 as a small family business in Northern Ireland, set up by George and Janice Watson. It launched its first website in 2000. It remains owned by the Watson family. 

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