Farmison & Co acquired by Yorkshire consortium led by ex Asda chief exec

Farmison & Co, a sustainable online meat retailer, has today been acquired by a consortium led by well-known Yorkshire retailer Andy Clarke and Chilli Marketing’s Gareth Whittle, Christian Barton and Kieron Barton.

The deal for the business, which fell into administration earlier this month with about 75 workers made redundant, has been agreed for an undisclosed sum.

The consortium intends to restart operations at Farmison’s production facility in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Gareth Whittle is the former founder and managing director of Chilli Marketing and a board member of Farmison prior to administration.

Together with Christian and Kieron Barton, the Chilli team powered the rise of the Rekorderlig cider brand in the UK and 10 countries across the world.

The consortium says it will work with the leadership team to firstly stabilise the company after a difficult year and then devise and implement a growth strategy.

Clarke, who was chief executive officer of Leeds-headquartered Asda from 2010-16 will become executive chairman of Farmison.

Acknowledging the vision of John Pallagi who co-founded the business with Lee Simmons in 2011, Clarke said: “While unable to navigate the economic difficulties of the last 12 months, John’s ‘eat better meat’ mission that sits at the heart of Farmison’s business, is one we believe has significant potential for growth.

“And as a retailer brought up on a farm in Yorkshire, I know how producers across the region appreciated Farmison’s commitment to the best producers who could provide the highest quality meat to customers.

“That’s why I’m very excited about Farmison’s prospects. We have an opportunity to scale this business and further develop both its direct-to-consumer and wholesale plans, building on the ethos and values of what Farmison stands for.

“Nevertheless, there is much work to do to get the business back on its feet and trading again – not least re-engaging with Farmison’s important network of farmers across the region and re-employing colleagues.

“In the short-term, our goal is to bring financial stability to the business, and we’re committed to re-energising Farmison’s long-term vision so it can take advantage of the growth opportunities that are undoubtedly available.”

Arvindar Jit Singh, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, added: “We are thrilled to have been able to secure a buyer for Farmison who is able to recommence trading and bring jobs back to Ripon.

“There had been significant interest in purchasing the business and assets of Farmison and a number of serious offers had been put forward in recent weeks, but the proposal from the Consortium provides the best opportunity of both re-establishing the business and maximising returns to creditors.

“We wish the team every success as they take the business forward.”

Walker Morris advised on FRP Advisory on the deal.

The consortium expects to re-open Farmison’s website and will update customers and suppliers with its plans.

Farmison & Co sells online directly to customers across the UK, and through wholesale channels such as Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Michelin star restaurants.

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