ABEO Group acquires Sportsafe UK

French sports and leisure equipment designer ABEO has acquired an 80% stake in Sportsafe UK – a specialist in sports equipment maintenance – in a deal advised by BCMS.

Colchester-based Sportsafe UK inspects, services and installs sports and fitness equipment, serving more than 15,000 customer sites primarily in schools and universities. With around 90 employees, the company generates 60% of revenue from repair and maintenance contracts.

ABEO is a major player in the sports and leisure market – and supplied all the gym equipment for the Rio Olympics. Headquartered in France, ABEO generates 66% of sales outside its home market through a portfolio of strong brands – including Gymnova in the UK.

“I would like to thank BCMS for helping us get this deal over the line” – Jonathan Neill, Sportsafe

At the time of the transaction in 2017, ABEO Group Managing Director Jacques Janssen said: “The UK is the group’s second and our sports division’s sixth largest market. Acquiring Sportsafe UK therefore gives us a chance to boost growth, both on the UK sports equipment market and in services. Like Janssen-Fritsen in the Netherlands and Adec in Belgium, the company has a very buoyant and successful UK services business that covers equipment inspection and maintenance.”

Sportsafe founder and CEO Jonathan Neill remained in charge of operational management, and added: “We have been growing very fast, doubling our turnover in the last two years. As we’re now looking at international markets, becoming part of a larger international group will help us accelerate our growth plans.

“Although we had several offers, ABEO is a market leader in our industry, and its growth strategy and culture fits in perfectly with where we are heading. This is a game-changer for us, and I would like to thank BCMS for helping us negotiate to get this deal over the line.”