(Turn and face the strange)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
When I joined BMJ as an assistant editor, way, way back as the industry emerged from the last recession-but one, I was, like most magazine newbies, only given the relatively easy stuff to start with. New product press releases mainly, on the grounds that they are the best way of finding out about the stuff that our readers handle day-after-day. Maybe the odd new appointment story, because, after all, this is a people industry so it was important to get a handle on who does what and who works for whom.
When my then boss decided that I was ready to be let loose on proper grown-up news stories, there’s one I remember particularly. It was the story of a takeover of Chandler Building Supplies by a chap called Robert Cope and his son Andrew. I remember it fondly – as I’ve told Andrew on many occasions – because it was the first story I wrote and it was the lead news story that month – none of your BREAKING NEWS website nonsense in those days.
So this morning I learned of the merger (takeover-acquisition-whatever the term is) of Chandlers and Cairngorm’s other south-east based business Parkers with a bit of a wistful sigh. A sigh that was similar to the one I let out when any of the names that I have known and worked with over the last 26 years – (yes, really. No, I can’t believe it either) have been acquired: Jacksons, Ridgeons, Erith, Shropshire Building Supplies, Build Center…
Things change. They have to or businesses stand still and then go backwards. I may have been on BMJ for 26 years, but I’m on my fifth job title, based out of my sixth address and working for my fourth owner. All those takeovers I mentioned above, and all the others I don’t have room for, happened and I sighed about them. But the merchant world kept turning. Nothing is certain, except death and taxes.
Businesses that want to grow need finance and backing to do so and that’s what Cairngorm are bringing in spades to the merchant sector. This will undoubtedly be good news for some of those involved and less good for others. That’s the way these things work. However, one of the things I’m interested in finding out – along with most of their suppliers no doubt – is how the practicalities will work of merging two businesses that are so very, very strong in their respective independent buying groups.
We live in interesting times. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad – there’s an old Chinese curse that wishes interesting times upon one’s enemies – but one good thing has come out of all this. I’ve written a whole blog without mentioning Brexit. Oh.