Belfast Telegraph

CMA looks into £300m Hillarys takeover

Hunter Douglas announced it was snapping up Hillarys in May
Hunter Douglas announced it was snapping up Hillarys in May

The competition watchdog has drawn the curtains on the £300 million takeover of made-to-measure blinds and curtains firm Hillarys amid potential concerns over the deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an initial enforcement order into the acquisition of Hillarys owner Bellotto by Dutch firm Hunter Douglas.

The move means Hunter Douglas will have to keep the two businesses separate until the CMA completes its initial investigations .

Hunter Douglas announced it was snapping up Nottinghamshire -based Hillarys in May.

Hillarys employs more than 1,350 people across three manufacturing sites - two in Nottingham and one in Washington, Tyne and Wear - while it also has a network of 1,000 self-employed advisers.

Parent group Bellotto was previously owned by private equity firm Ares Capital Corporation.

Hillarys was founded by Tony Hillary in 1971, starting life as a made-to-measure blind firm and since branching out into making curtains, shutters, awnings and more recently carpets and flooring.

Its buyer Hunter Douglas started life in 1919 and is now a global player in the market, having invented the aluminium venetian blind in 1946.

The group's purchase of two rival blind firms in 2010 - Denmark's Faber and German group Benthin - also attracted the attention of the UK competition authorities.

The Office of Fair Trading investigated the impact of the deal on the UK market amid a number of complaints, but later cleared the acquisition.