Founder earns £15m payout from sale
Blackcircles.com acquired by Michelin in £50m deal
The French company has acquired the Peebles based business, the biggest internet tyre sales company in Britain, for £50 million. Welch (pictured), 36, owns about a third of the shares.
Blackcircles.com generated £28 million in revenue in 2013 and has built a substantial retail partnership with Tesco.
Blackcircles.com has enjoyed growth of around 20% a year since 2008, in particular because of its “Click & Fit” formula, which includes the sale of the product and the service.
In the first quarter of 2015, it notched up revenues up 34% over the corresponding period last year.
Mr Welch said: “I’m delighted to have found in Michelin a partner who shares our passion for customer service, innovation and technology.
“The strength of the Michelin Group will allow us to underpin the multi-brand offering that we deploy in each garage, on every street corner. I am convinced that our teams, our customers, our garages and our suppliers will rapidly start to see the benefits of this partnership.”
The company is chaired by Graeme Bissett who is also chairman of Macfarlane Group.
Michelin said the acquisition will enable it to improve the performance of its mix of distribution channels in the UK, and in particular to develop synergies with its traditional distributor, ATS Euromaster.
In a statement it said: “Following the acquisition in mid-April of a 40% stake in Allopneus, the leading French online tyre sales company, this acquisition represents for Michelin yet another stage in the implementation of an active e-commerce strategy.
“Thanks to this alliance with two European players who have succeeded in creating a new efficient tyre sales business model, Michelin is pursuing its objective to address the new expectations of motorists, and in particular to offer them a simple and efficient purchase process and best value.”
Jean-Dominique Senard, chief executive of the Michelin Group, said: “Our strategy illustrates our ambition: to be ever more innovative, efficient and proactive for our customers by offering them products and services suited to individual needs, and by simplifying the entire purchase process, from choosing their tyres to having them fitted by professionals.”