Arena Online Ltd, the UK’s leading ethical flower business, today announces the acquisition of and merger with Patch Gardens Ltd (trading as Patch), the leading plant delivery business.
The acquisition builds upon Arena’s best-in-class fulfillment and technology platform, Hyperion™, which will deliver continued growth and efficiency.
Patch is a fast-growing and highly trusted consumer brand that redefines gardening for the next generation and has already built a market-leading position. In 2022, it was recognized by Good Housekeeping as the best plant delivery service in the UK.
The acquisition adds one of the UK’s leading direct-to-consumer brands to Arena’s portfolio, which already boasts the UK’s #1 rated ethical flower delivery company, ArenaFlowers.com – all powered by Arena’s proprietary and market-leading fulfillment platform. The result of this acquisition is a business of unrivaled capability and scale in the delivery of cut flowers, plants, and gifts, which will bring value and choice to UK customers.
The businesses are highly complementary, and the growth potential and synergies create significant opportunities to deliver value to the stakeholders of the enlarged group. Through the acquisition, Arena will gain the services of highly skilled members of the Patch leadership team, including founder and CEO Freddie Blackett, who joins the new Arena group board as Chief Strategy Officer.
John Hackett, CEO of Arena, said: “We have long admired Patch and its development of a brilliant brand. The Patch team, ably led by Freddie, shares our commitment to sustainability, quality, and execution and brings complementary and hugely valuable skills to our enlarged business.
“Much of Arena’s recent development investment has been focused on building Hyperion™, our unique e-commerce and fulfillment technology platform for flowers, plants, and gift delivery, and we are excited that Patch is strengthening the portfolio. We look forward to the unrivaled customer offering we will bring to market for flower senders and plant lovers alike.”
The consolidation of the two businesses will be completed in the middle of this calendar year. It is expected that the acquisition will grow the enlarged group’s EBITDA by 50%, as well as open up further opportunities for long-term growth in both B2C and B2B.
Freddie Blackett, CEO of Patch, commented: “Having known the Arena team for a long time, I have always been impressed by their growth, but even more so by their ambition. I’m thrilled to be partnering with John, Will, and their team and am truly excited about what the partnership means for Patch, my colleagues, and our customers.
“Delivering plants seamlessly to people is no mean feat. We’ve built a market-leading customer experience, but I know that the fulfillment specialism and technology that Arena has developed will give us huge opportunities to go even further. This extends not only to what both our businesses do today but also to other categories where we believe that our unique combination of strengths can create a very material competitive advantage.”
The business plans to build on the newly combined strengths of fulfillment expertise and consumer brand development to grow into adjacent categories through organic expansion and channel development as well as further M&A. Arena will continue to work with Ashcombe Advisors, who were instrumental in facilitating this transaction. The group will remain focused on the UK market for the foreseeable future.
Will Wynne, serial entrepreneur and chair of the Arena group, added: “In troubled times, Arena is delighted to get 2023 off to a flying start by announcing this totemic acquisition. I’m proud of John and Freddie for making this deal happen, and I congratulate them both. Welcome to the team, Freddie!
“At Arena, we are focused on partnerships and deals that align with our customer vision: to provide the highest quality, most ethically sourced personalized gifts, at scale, and at fantastic prices, to all segments of the UK market. This strategy reflects our values and creates value for shareholders, customers, and our teams.
I believe this deal marks an inflection point for the Arena group as we roll out our brands and B2B platform, Hyperion™. I’m also delighted to welcome several excellent senior leaders to the Arena leadership team. Finally, I welcome Octopus Ventures and Forward Partners onto our cap table and look forward to the very material shareholder value we will all create together.”
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