JAG has bought all 53 Go Mobile outlets, which turn over more than £20 million per annum, taking its total store count to 140.
JAG is also opening eight new stores in Cornwall, and moving its headquarters from Bodmin to a larger site in Perranporth, Cornwall.
The JAG chain will stretch to more than 150 sites across the UK by the new year, according to JAG managing director John George (pictured).
The store transfer will see Go Mobile managing director Iain Humphrey concentrate fully on the Shebang distribution business, the Sellfone EPOS system and new retail ventures.
The deal completes on January 1, 2008, when all Go Mobile signage will switch to JAG’s branding. JAG takes on around 140 Go Mobile employees, comprising all store staff and area managers. Eight staff in Go Mobile’s head office in Daventry have been made redundant after declining transfers to JAG’s new Perranporth base.
The deal is structured around the performance of the Go Mobile stores, which will continue to be tied into the Shebang distribution set-up, with payments made over a period of up to five years.
George said: “The better the stores do, the quicker the money will get paid. The investment is huge – based on both the initial deal and the cost of bringing those Go Mobile outlets into the fold. But it is a manageable risk.”
Humphrey said: “This is a multi-million pound deal that gives both parties a far better position for the future. It’s worth millions to both parties.
“The Go Mobile chain is better off in the hands of John George, who has the flair and entrepreneurial drive to take it to an even higher level.”
There is no overlap between the JAG and the Go Mobile retail footprints, with the former confined largely to the southwest and the latter stretching across the Midlands into Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. It gives JAG, for the first time, a genuine claim to be a national retailer.
It is the fourth large acquisition by JAG, following the purchase of 30 stores from WestTalk in 2000, 11 from Comms Centres in 2002 and 35 from KJC in 2004.
Humphrey said: “It was a tough decision, but for most of the people involved in Go Mobile it is the right one. JAG’s profits and retail success in the past year outstrip even mine, so the Go Mobile chain will go on to even greater things, supported by Shebang.”