Picture perfect sale agreed for photographic retailer

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A Yorkshire photographic retailer, The Flash Centre in Leeds, has been sold to a West Midlands-based business.

The deal was brokered by accountants and business advisers, Garbutt + Elliott.

The family-owned studio lighting specialist, founded in London 40 years ago to import Elinchrom professional photographic studio flash technology for the growing UK photography market, has been acquired by Birmingham-based Lumesca Group Ltd for a substantial but undisclosed sum.

It means The Flash Centre managing director, Chris Whittle, who acquired the business from his father, Malcolm, in 1989, and other family shareholders, can exit the £3.5m annual turnover business.

The firm has 23 full and part-time staff at its three shops in Leeds, Birmingham and London.

Founded in 1980, Photographic Studio Consultants Ltd (PSC), which trades as The Flash Centre, expanded its product range to include other well-known photographic equipment brands and to offer rental, repairs and training as well as traditional retail and online sales.

LUMESCA Group Ltd was founded as TypeMaker Ltd in Birmingham in 1986, to support the computer-based design and publishing market, which was just taking off.

The company became an image manipulation software developer and introduced colour management technology.

LUMESCA Group then expanded its presence throughout Europe, selling to both end-users and resellers.

Its managing director, Geoffrey Clements, said: “The Flash Centre, with established trade outlets, successful ecommerce and leading distribution brands, an experienced team and customer relationships of more than 30 years, is a great addition to our business.

“As we continue to grow in the photographic sector, there are many synergies with our other businesses and the addition of the Elinchrom studio and location lighting range, along with innovative lighting accessories, speedlights, triggers and video LED panels, complement our offering.”

Whittle sought help in selling the business as part of a retirement plan.

Garbutt + Elliott partner Tariq Javaid and assistant corporate finance manager, Tom Hartley, researched and identified potential buyers, prepared a sales memorandum and marketing material, and, after Lumesca expressed interest, negotiated the financial deal.

Corporate partner, at LCF Law, Susan Clark, handled legal aspects of the transaction for Whittle.

Whittle said: “Joining forces with LUMESCA broadens our specialisations from creative light and image capture to include critical colour management and optimised image output.

“We are grateful to Garbutt + Elliott for its expertise in all aspects of a sale which gives the best possible opportunity to further develop The Flash Centre brand and its staff.”

Javaid said: “The Flash centre is a well-known with a national customer base, so our strategy was to find a buyer with the best fit for business development.

“We achieved this with Lumesca which gains bases in Yorkshire and London while providing Chris Whittle and his family shareholders with a purchase price which rewards them for 40 years of hard work developing the business.”