Cycling industry website BikeBiz is reporting that online retailer Wiggle is set to buy its biggest rival, Chain Reaction Cycles, but will a deal go through?
Wiggle, founded in 1999, is owned by Bridgeport Capital, which bought the Portsmouth-based company for £180m in 2011. In 2014 Wiggle’s sales soared by 19 per cent to £168m and in 2015 it moved its warehouse operation from the South Coast to Wolverhampton.
Chain Reaction, meanwhile, has a much longer history, growing from a small bike shop – then named Ballynure Cycles – in Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, which formed in 1989. Since 1998 it has been known as Chain Reaction Cycles, with the website launched the following year.
According to BikeBiz, almost 40 per cent of Chain Reaction’s sales come from outside the EU, including Australia and America. In the past few years, Wiggle has already launched websites in 11 different countries as it looks to expand its business, so the potential acquisition would strengthen Wiggle’s position worldwide.
Both Wiggle and Chain Reaction declined to comment on the speculation when contacted by Cycling Weekly.
Amendment: This article previously stated that Wiggle was founded in 2009, which is not the case. The company took the name Wiggle in 1999 but traces its history back to the 1920s with the Butler Bikes store in Portsmouth.