Nisa's senior team has urged retailer members to accept the Co-op Group's £143m takeover offer, calling the deal "a compelling all-round proposition."
The deal would see Nisa members given the opportunity to source products from the Co-op, the opportunity to become a Co-op franchise and the continuation of member independence rights that allow retailers to "operate stores how they want."
The buy out will also give Nisa members £1,654 per share to be paid over the next four years, alongside unspecified additional payments.
Jo Whitfield, food CEO at the Co-op comments: “If our offer is accepted by Nisa members and approved by the CMA, we can deliver a win-win for two member-led, community-focused organisations."
Nisa chairman Peter Hartley adds: “The Board was unanimous in its decision to recommend the Co-op offer."
"The Co-op offers the right blend of buying capability, convenience expertise, and respect for the heritage of our business, to enable our members to fully thrive in this new partnership," he continues.
To drum up support for the deal and to explain it further, a roadshow is to be undertaken by both the Co-op and Nisa, giving members the opportunity to have their questions and concerns answered.
For the deal to pass, 75% of the member base, weighted by share numbers would need to vote in favour of the deal. There are just under 60,000 shares in total, though these are unevenly distributed with some retailers holding 250 times the voting power of other retailers. Those with the most voting power also have the most to gain from the deal, with the largest share holdings looking to benefit by more than £500,000.
A period of upheaval at Nisa including a retention payments scandal, and the departure of CEO Nick Read, both in the last week, has left Nisa members divided over the best way forward for the group.
What the members thinks:
One Nisa retailer told Retail Express: "Nisa used to be the great box shifter, it used to have the volume to really compete and we lost this with the Costcutter group. A takeover seems to be the quickest way to get the scale we need to compete."
Bal Singh, of Nisa Local in Great Barr, Birmingham, said that he would prefer a re-united Costcutter and Nisa but described the new deal stating: "I'm glad it's Co-op and not Sainsbury's. I had visions of a repeat of MyLocal because I'm not sure those big supermarket multiples understand independents. The Co-op operates in a more similar space and I think it will be better for member independence."
Philip Constantine, of Nisa Local in Hither Green, London comments: "I think the deal will give members more buying power, better availability and better prices, but the deciding factor will be the level of independence we maintain after the deal."
— Retail Express (@retailexpress) October 10, 2017