Debbie KingThe corporate team at Farleys have advised Preston based fruit and vegetable wholesaler Sharrocks Fresh Produce Limited in the sale of the business to Gilbert Thompson Group.

Sharrocks Fresh Produce Ltd, a family company that traces back many generations to Great grandfather Thomas Eastham, sold a portion of the business to independent supermarket chain Booths in November 2013. Following the sale, the non-Booths wholesale trade continued to operate under the direction of Paul Whittle.

The shareholders of Sharrocks Fresh Produce Ltd have now sold 100% of the issued share capital to Gilbert Thompson Group of Leeds, who are currently the largest fresh produce wholesalers in Yorkshire.

Both management teams feel it is an extremely positive step forward, benefitting both wholesalers on either side of the Pennines.

Paul Whittle, Managing Director of Sharrocks, stated:

“It’s a brilliant deal, executed by a fantastic solicitor – Debbie King. Choice of solicitor is so crucial – it can be the difference between completion or failure, so to maximise chances of success we made sure that we picked the best around.

“I am just absolutely over the moon that Sharrocks is now in the very safe and capable hands of the award winning, highly reputable and successful Gilbert Thompson group. The fit is so fantastic, the GT team have a hard work, caring family company ethos, they are passionate about produce, passionate about all involved; customers, employees and last but not least,the growers. Our customers will benefit from lower prices and an enhanced product range due to increased buying power. Access to in-house prepared vegetables and flowers will complete an impressive product portfolio.”

Dan Thompson, MD of GT Leeds, said:

“I want to reassure the customers and suppliers of both companies there will be no disruption to the quality of produce or service provided. We are fourth generation of our family in this business and we share the values of the Sharrocks team. Together we will be more than the sum of the two parts.”

This acquisition will now ensure that the GT group is one of the largest privately-owned fresh produce wholesalers in the North of England.

Advisors on the deal were Debbie King of Farleys and Mary Whittle of Whittles Chartered Accountants, acting for Sharrocks.

Mary Whittle commented:

“Having been involved as advisors with numerous acquisitions and disposals I appreciate how important it is to work with an efficient and capable solicitor you can trust. Instructing Debbie (again!) was an absolute no brainer”

GT Group was advised by Shulmans LLP, a firm based in Leeds.

Debbie King of Farleys commented:

“After the smooth sale of Sharrocks the first time around, the remaining Directors were keen to instruct Farleys again. From humble beginnings, this Lancashire business is a superb example of how to create, grow and maintain a niche within an industry and further, how to sell a business at the right time to maximise its potential”.