The plot thickens on the Rentokil-Mitie acquisition. Terminix to return to the UK

An announcement was posted today (11 July) on the Competitions and Markets Authority website that takes the sale of Mitie Pest Control Ltd to Rentokil one step closer to completion. ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc has been named as the upfront buyer of the divested business.

Following the announcement on 1 October 2018 of the sale of Mitie Pest Control Ltd’s pest control business to Rentokil, on 12 April 2019 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided that this might result in a substantial lessening of competition, particularly to national customers, within the UK market place.

Rentokil Mitie Landscape

In response, on 23 April 2019, Rentokil offered, in effect, to divest this part of its business (known as the Divestment Business). The CMA replied on 30 April that this would likely be acceptable.

Divestment to ServiceMaster
So on 11 July 2019, the posting on the CMA website revealed in the latest update that Rentokil has offered to enter into an agreement for the sale of this Divestment Business to ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. This agreement is conditional on acceptance by the CMA.

The transfer of the Divestment Business comprises revenue generating customer contracts and key staff deemed reasonably necessary to be an effective national competitor.

ServiceMaster, based in Georgia USA, is a mega bucks company recording revenues of near £2 billion in 2018. They are very well known in the US pest control business with their Terminix brand. However, those with good memories will recall that Terminix used to have a presence in the UK, but in 2012 that business was sold to Ecolab.

Terminix

However, unbeknown to most ServiceMaster does already have a presence in the UK and Irish markets as the company has recently purchased Pest Pulse, a technology-based pest control company based in Dublin.

A phone call to the offices of Pest Pulse in Ireland for some sort of statement on this acquisition revealed that they too had been taken by surprise by the announcement of this news!

A further twist....
In a further twist of ‘what goes around comes around’ Peter Trotman, former managing director of Mitie Pest Control happens to be the UK managing director for Pest Pulse.

No change on the Mitie Limited's status
Somewhat confusingly, the above does not alter the part of the Mitie business which acquired preferred supplier status of pest control services where such services are provided as part of an integrated facilities management offering to Mitie’s customers.

For further explanation see the news story posted on 16 October 2018.



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