Online retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles are to merge, it is announced, with combined revenues expected to be in excess of £300m

Online cycling retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles have announced they are to merge in an effort to ‘strengthen their position’ in the online market.

Rumours surfaced earlier this week about a possible acquisition of the Chain Reaction Cycles brand by Wiggle, although both parties declined to offer comment at the time.

On Friday, however, Wiggle announced the merger, claiming the combined business will have revenues in excess of £300m

“In the global online retailing market in which we operate, there is a compelling industrial logic for our two businesses to come together to become a stronger force,” said Wiggle chief executive Stefan Barden We have long respected Chain Reaction Cycles as a business and share its values and commitment to delivering the best possible price and first class service for its customers.”

Wiggle, officially formed in 1999, traces its history in Portsmouth back to the 1920s with Butler Cycles. The modern company serves customers in over 70 countries and is the largest international online retailer of cycling, running, swimming and triathlon products.

Chain Reaction Cyclies (CRC) dates back to the 1980s, when George and Janice Watson opened Ballynure cycles in Northern Ireland. The company has been run by the Watson family ever since, with the website, which is now the world’s biggest online bike store, launching in 2000.

CRC managing director Chris Watson said: “This is an exciting new chapter for the Chain Reaction Cycles brand. Since the business started in 1984, we’ve grown strongly from our mountain bike origins in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of more MTB, BMX and road cyclists across more countries.

“Coming together with Wiggle is a great way to continue that growth, as a global force in cycling and a leader in technology, eCommerce and innovation.”

Wiggle and CRC say the the transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals, including merger control clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In 2013, Wiggle’s sales topped £168m, while CRC’s stood close to £145m.

  • Sam Garside

    I think this is going to spell disaster for even more small IBD’s in the country. We’ve lost at least 2 in the Leeds/Bradford area in the last 12 months already.

  • Graham Dunn

    Where are people buying from Deutschland? I usually find CRC the best.

  • Mike Gough

    I agree…being a Bike specialist too…. I have to own up to buying components from Germany as CRC are most of the time cheaper than Wholesale, but the blame for that is firmly on the UK Distro system. I will still buy in from the EU unless of course we leave and price rises result from it…….

  • David Barnett

    Lower prices are not necessarily good for the consumer. CRC is already cheaper than wholesale for some items as it is, further cost cutting will be quality cutting. I do have an interest as I run a specialist bike business, so I say good luck to the staff and I hope that there are no job losses.

  • J1

    Exactly. Loads of people have come up with the higher prices theory, there’s loads of competition though. Let’s see how quick they go out of business if they try it.

  • Chris

    I don’t think the merger between the UK companies will lead to a decrease in competition and thus an increase in price. Why? Here we are talking about on-line discount retailing, not brick-and-mortar retailing.

    There is already a large number of German online discount retailers. UK based online discount retailers (e.g., Wiggle, Pro bike kit, Chain reaction cycle, etc.) do not have competitive advantage (in terms of price) against those capable German competitors, recently.

    Theory is simple: if there already exist competitors that offer lower price than those two UK firms in the market, the merged firm cannot charge a higher price than before.

    The purpose of this merger seems to be to improve their competitive edge against their German rivals.

  • Chris

    I don’t think the merger between the UK companies will lead to a decrease in competition and thus to an increase in price. Why? Here we are talking about on-line discount retailing, not brick-and-mortar retailing.

    There is already a large number of German online discount retailers. UK based online discount retailers (e.g., Wiggle, Pro bike kit, Chain reaction cycle, etc.) do not have competitive advantage (in terms of price) against those capable German competitors, recently.

    Theory is simple: if there already exist competitors that offer lower price than those two UK firms in the market, the merged firm cannot charge a higher price than before.

    The purpose of this merger seems to be for them to improve their competitive edge against their German rivals.

  • CyberTonTo72

    Just hoping they keep the stores open and the bikes are the same too, they do great Vitus bikes in-store, and my local store is as good as a LBS

  • http://www.veloism.co.uk Veloism.cc

    The two biggest online bike retailers coming together probably isn’t a good thing for us consumers. If this gets through, expect less bargains until the next company comes along. Tredz/wheelies? Who knows.

  • Mike Prytherch

    Difficult to know if this is good or bad for the consumer, together they will be able to demand a larger discount from their suppliers, but will this be passed onto us, also with less competition means less price wars and therefore higher prices…. time will tell I guess