Valli Group Acquire A H Mertons Ltd

Benchmark International has successfully negotiated the sale of A H Mertons, a long established group of family-run opticians to Holmfirth-based Valli Group.

Based in Cheshire, A H Mertons comprises seven independent optometry practises across the North West of England, providing all aspects of optometry and eye care for all ages.  From its inception in 1977 the Company has developed several areas of expertise including corporate and family eye care, children’s vision, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and contact lenses.

Christine Wrenn, Executive Director, of A H Merton’s Ltd said: “A H Mertons Ltd have a strong reputation and we have worked tirelessly to ensure we provide our patients with a high standard of professional eyecare within the independent sector. Our loyal practice teams are passionate about eye care and the ocular health of our patients, so it was essential we found the right company with a similar strategy and philosophy.

“We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside Moin Valli of The Valli Group and are confident Moin will take our company to the next level of eye care.”

The Valli Group has grown considerably since its formation in 2005 by Moin and Rachel Valli.  With eight established practises in Yorkshire already, the strategic acquisition of A H Mertons will allow the business to expand into the Greater Manchester and Merseyside regions.

Valli Holdings’s acquisition of A H Merton group not only doubles its number of stores, it almost trebles turnover and staff – making Valli Opticians one of the largest independent groups of opticians in the UK.

Mr Valli, who has previously acquired one practice a year for the last seven years in Yorkshire, said, “I was not looking to acquire any more practices this year having added Hull and Hebden Bridge to the portfolio in 2015.  The ambition had been to acquire one a year, but when I heard of the opportunity it was too good not to investigate.

“Malcolm has built a very strong community based business that shares the same values as Valli,” he added.  “His business model was the same as mine. Every five years he acquired an established business, retaining the practice name to maintain community identity.

“Both are family companies which always put a premium on patient service, offering longer appointments times and working to ensure people feel we care about their visual health first and foremost.  Our people also matter so we invest in their development.

“Malcolm was keen to sell his business to someone who understood the A H Merton’s Ltd ethos and it became clear as negotiations progressed that there was much synergy.  At the same time we have enough differences to transfer that will be mutually beneficial.”

Roger Forshaw, Associate Director at Benchmark International and adviser on the deal, commented “This is a great synergistic and geographical acquisition and all of us at Benchmark International believe it represents the perfect fit for A H Mertons, which will enable its continued growth in the healthcare sector. It was a pleasure to advise on this deal and I would like to extend my best wishes to both parties.”

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