BSR brings in betta bid for BSL

By Sarah Falson

BUNDABERG: Betta Stores Limited (BSL) bidding war favourite, BSR Limited, on Friday secured the core franchise business as a going concern for an undisclosed price, beating opposition bidder Leading Edge Group.

The BSL Group’s receiver and manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner Phil Carter, confirmed today to Current.com.au that the deal, wrapped up at around 11pm on Friday, includes the sale of Betta Electrical, Chandlers and other brands owned by BSL, as well as all associated intellectual property, fixed assets and the IT system.

Truscott’s Hi-Fi in Adelaide is not included in the sale, as it is being sold separately as a going concern.

BSR Limited — a consortium of franchisees from the BSL Group — last week secured pledges from 95 BSL members representing 130 shopfronts, and consequently stood victorious against both the Leading Edge Group and Retravision WA, the latter of which gained the vote of four BSL members in Western Australia, and proposed a bid of a reported $500,000.

Carter could not confirm the total sum BSR paid for the BSL franchise business, but BSR senior franchisee, Everard Johnson, did confirm last week that the pledges from the 95 stores represented a cumulative bid of between $3 million and $4 million.

An average pledge made by a single BSL member was estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000.

Prior to Friday’s deal, in a last minute pitch to gain more BSL pledges, Johnson explained the reason he thought BSR was the natural successor for ownership of the BSL franchise business.

“LEG [Leading Edge Group] is attempting to seize an opportunity… we on the other hand are attempting to secure our future,” he said.

In a statement to the press today, PwC’s Carter said: “The Betta sale is great news particularly for the network of Betta and Chandlers franchisees and the staff of BSL’s Brisbane based office. The majority of staff will be offered new roles with BSR.”

Carter told Current.com.au today that most of the people at the BSL core franchise head office would be offered new positions by the BSR management, but exact details were currently being discussed.

“Bare in mind, what the consortium bought is the core franchise business,” he said.

“There are certainly some people who won’t be offered new roles with BSR. Some of the people who work in the other areas of BSL will be offered other positions.”

“At the moment, I am delighted and relieved to have gotten this far,” he said.

In a statement today to the press, Johnson confirmed that BSL will continue as a business.

“The deal gives us the opportunity for a fresh start with our members owning their brand. It also offers our suppliers a national brand through which to market their products.

“We will continue to work with the receiver and manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Phil Carter and David McEvoy to ensure smooth transition of the business,” he said.

Carter told Current.com.au that a regarding the purchase of Truscott’s Hi-Fi is circulating, but he couldn’t confirm which companies had shown interest.

“There is definitely some interest,” he said. “The ball is in other courts right now; [the sale] depends on how quickly the contract circulates.”

When asked if any of the same companies who bid for BSL had shown interest in Truscott’s Hi-Fi, Carter said: “There have been some parties that have been interested in both, but certainly not BSL – not to buy it, anyway.”

BSL’s Brisbane head office premises and other assets are currently also being sold.

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