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Historic Northumberland fishing business sold to US firm

Northumberland fishing equipment maker Hardy & Greys has been sold to US firm Pure Fishing Inc.

The current owners say Pure Fishing respect Hardy & Grey’s strong Alnwick heritage and also want to expand globally.

Hardy & Greys’ subsidiary, Hard Advanced Composites is also included in the deal which was advised by corporate finance specialists at Grant Thornton in Newcastle and Birmingham, and lawyers from Ward Hadaway.

Richard Maudslay, deputy chairman of Hardy & Greys, said: “Hardy & Greys has found a buyer who shares the company’s vision to develop its strong operations not just in the UK, continental Europe and North America but around the globe which is very good news.

“Pure Fishing recognises the importance of Hardy’s Alnwick heritage and the skills and expertise of the Alnwick-based employees.”

The Alnwick-based company formed in 1872 and has garnered a reputation as one of the world’s premier angling brands.

Coventry-based Harris & Sheldon Group Limited acquired the firm from the Hardy family in 1967.

It became Hardy & Greys Ltd in 2004 – the change of name reflecting its acquisition of fellow fishing tackle brand Greys, later followed by the acquisition of Chub – and set up subsidiaries in Germany and the USA which are now key markets. Across its brands, it covers all branches of recreational fishing.

Hardy Advanced Composites Ltd operates as a subsidiary, manufacturing components for use in various sectors such as defence, medical, sports and consumer products.

Together the businesses employ around 100 people.

Zara Lane, who leads Grant Thornton’s Newcastle Corporate Finance offering, said: “Grant Thornton’s corporate finance team’s depth and breadth was invaluable in thoroughly analysing potential purchasers to ascertain those which represented a truly strategic fit for the businesses, could build on the considerable heritage of the brands and take them forward into the future.

“This latest deal highlights an increasing trend for overseas buyers keen to acquire strong British brands across a range of sectors.”

Katherine Hay-Heddle, partner in the Corporate Finance team at Ward Hadaway, led the firm’s team advising on the sale.

She said: “Hardy & Greys is a truly iconic name in the world of fishing as well as a long-standing client of Ward Hadaway so it was important for us to be able to secure a successful sale of the business.

“We are delighted to have assisted the team at the company on this deal which will see Hardy & Greys become part of a major global consumer group.”

Mr Maudsley added: “Grant Thornton’s international experience was hugely beneficial, with the team not only understanding the nature of US acquirers and their corporate finance practices, but also managing the deal process efficiently despite time differences.

“Ward Hadaway’s assistance was invaluable in ensuring that the deal progressed smoothly to a successful conclusion.”

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