Appreciate to change hands for £83m

Liverpool gift vouchers, corporate rewards and savings business Appreciate Group set to change hands in deal worth £83m. Tony McDonough reports

20 Chapel Street
Appreciate Gorup is based at 20 Chapel Street in Liverpool city centre


A business that began as a Christmas savings and hampers club in a family butcher in Birkenhead in the 1960s is set to change hands in an £83m deal.

Appreciate Group was started by Peter Johnson and eventually grew to become Park Group. Mr Johnson became one of Merseyside’s best-known business people. At different points he owned both Everton FC and Tranmere Rovers FC.

Mr Johnson sold the business several years ago and it eventually became Appreciate Group. It ended the Christmas hampers operation in late 2020 but still offers Christmas savings. However, its core business is now focused on the popular Love2shop gift voucher and corporate rewards.

In 2020 its 270 staff left their longtime Birkenhead Home and set up base at 20 Chapel Street in Liverpool city centre.

Currently listed on the stock exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, Appreciate’s board has accepted an offer from PayPoint to acquire 95% of its share capital. The deal is expected to complete in early 2023 pending the approval of its shareholders.

PayPoint offers multiple outlets across the UK for people wanting to pay their domestic bills and purchases credit for pre-payment energy meters. It operates out of around 28,000 retailers, usually small newsagents or convenience stores. In 2021 it struck a deal woith appreciate to accept electronic gift vouchers across its retail network.

In its most recent full-year results, for the 12 months to March 31, 2022, PayPoint reported revenues of £145.1m and pre-tax profits of £78.5m. For the same period Appreciate saw revenues of £123.3m and a pre-tax profit of £8.4m.

In August Appreciate announced the appointment of chief commercial officer Julian Coghlan as interim chief executive. He stepped up following the departure of Ian O’Doherty in July.

PayPoint chief executive Nick Wiles suggested the deal could give PayPoint stores access to Appreciate Group brands, He added it would create an “enhanced retail proposition” across its network of 28,000 convenience stores.


Appreciate Group offers the Love2shop multi-retailer voucher
Julian Coghlan
Julian Coghlan, interim chief executive of Appreciate Group


“The PayPoint Board believes the proposed acquisition of Appreciate Group provides a compelling opportunity to acquire a highly complementary business with well-established offerings in prepayment savings and the corporate and consumer gift card and voucher sector,” said Mr Wiles.

“The acquisition will strengthen our digital payments offering and create an enhanced retail proposition across our partner network, including more than 28,000 convenience stores, delivering additional growth opportunities for the enlarged group.”

Guy Parsons, executive chairman of Appreciate Group, added: “PayPoint’s offer represents an attractive premium for shareholders, providing an opportunity to exit the majority of their shareholdings for cash, whilst participating in the potential upside of the combined Appreciate Group and PayPoint businesses over the long-term.”

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