Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles officially announce merger

Online retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles are to merge, it is announced, with combined revenues expected to be in excess of £300m

Online cycling retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles have announced they are to merge in an effort to 'strengthen their position' in the online market.

Rumours surfaced earlier this week about a possible acquisition of the Chain Reaction Cycles brand by Wiggle, although both parties declined to offer comment at the time.

On Friday, however, Wiggle announced the merger, claiming the combined business will have revenues in excess of £300m

“In the global online retailing market in which we operate, there is a compelling industrial logic for our two businesses to come together to become a stronger force," said Wiggle chief executive Stefan Barden We have long respected Chain Reaction Cycles as a business and share its values and commitment to delivering the best possible price and first class service for its customers."

Wiggle, officially formed in 1999, traces its history in Portsmouth back to the 1920s with Butler Cycles. The modern company serves customers in over 70 countries and is the largest international online retailer of cycling, running, swimming and triathlon products.

Chain Reaction Cyclies (CRC) dates back to the 1980s, when George and Janice Watson opened Ballynure cycles in Northern Ireland. The company has been run by the Watson family ever since, with the website, which is now the world's biggest online bike store, launching in 2000.

CRC managing director Chris Watson said: “This is an exciting new chapter for the Chain Reaction Cycles brand. Since the business started in 1984, we’ve grown strongly from our mountain bike origins in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of more MTB, BMX and road cyclists across more countries.

"Coming together with Wiggle is a great way to continue that growth, as a global force in cycling and a leader in technology, eCommerce and innovation.”

Wiggle and CRC say the the transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals, including merger control clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In 2013, Wiggle's sales topped £168m, while CRC's stood close to £145m.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.