Pen Shop changes ownership after MBO

Europe’s biggest luxury pen retailer, which began life as a few shelves in a Newcastle department store, is under new ownership for the first time in its 157-year history following a management buy-out (MBO).

The Pen Shop is now under the ownership of its executive directors managing director Colin McClymont, finance director Andy Briggs and e-commerce director Vic Morgan after its purchase from the Allan family, who founded the business back in 1858.

The company is the biggest retailer of its kind in Europe, with 20 retail shops across the UK, a thriving and fast-growing online operation, and a wholesale business supplying pens and gifts under the Kingsley brand.

Through the MBO, which transfers ownership from the Allan family shareholders to the newly-formed Foundation Group, the jobs of its 145 staff will be protected, and the future of the business is secured.

The Pen Shop began life as T&G Allan, named after brothers Thomas and George Allan who opened their first shop on Newcastle’s Collingwood Street. The business took on its current name in 1946, although one T&G Allan store still remains, in Morpeth. Shops are also in other cities including London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh.

The head office of the business is now based on Team Valley, in Gateshead, and has had Mr McClymont as its managing director for 26 years.

Outgoing Chairman Richard Allan said: “With no member of the Allan family now involved in an executive capacity within the business, it has been decided to relinquish control to Colin McClymont and his team. The disposal to the current management team ensures long-term stability of the business, minimal disruption to suppliers and, crucially in the family’s eyes, security of employment for the staff, many of whom are long-serving.

“Our family is delighted that the business will continue to be based on Tyneside, where George and Thomas Allan opened their first shop in 1858. We thank our many customers for their support in the intervening years, and particularly thank the current generation of loyal executives and staff for their service to both T&G and the Allan family. We wish Colin, Andy and Vic every success in the future.”

Colin McClymont said: “The completion of the transaction is a proud moment for us and we are looking forward confidently to the future. We have some exciting new developments in the pipeline.”

Newcastle law firm Sintons, who have worked with the Pen Shop for several decades, acted for the Allan family in the transaction, with UNW providing corporate finance. Law firm Ward Hadaway and Cavu Corporate Finance acted for the Foundation Group.

Adrian Dye, Partner at Sintons, who led the transaction, said: “The Pen Shop is a real North East success story, having truly stood the test of time to become the biggest retailer of its kind in Europe. Colin and his team have provided the outstanding leadership and stability within the business over the past 26 years to enable it to withstand the economic turbulence and continue to flourish. We are confident they will continue to take the business to new levels in the months and years ahead, and wish them every success.”

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