Euro Auctions to Stay Independent after Ritchie Bros Merger Collapses

    The deal to merge Euro Auctions with Ritchie Bros has been called off after the UK Competition & Market Authority stepped in.

    In a statement Ritchie Bros said: “On 8th August 2021 Euro Auctions (the “Group”) and Ritchie Bros Auctioneers (“Ritchie Bros”) announced a transaction to combine the two leading heavy equipment auctioneering companies globally. Subsequently, on the 4th March 2022 the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced that the merger between Euro Auctions and Ritchie Bros. would be referred to a Phase II investigation into the merger’s impact on the UK’s competitive landscape.

    Ritchie Bros. believe there is no realistic prospect for approval by the CMA and will not proceed with the Phase II investigation following the rejection by the CMA of the remedy offered in Phase I of the process.   As a result, the anticipated transaction between Euro Auctions and Ritchie Bros. will not be concluded.

    In a separate statement issued last night, Euro Auctions’ said its commitment to unreserved auctions provides its global customer base with the fairest and best way of buying and selling industrial plant, construction, transport, agricultural equipment and vehicles, providing solutions and services across all channels, sectors, regions and customer segments.

    “The Euro Auctions business remains the leading auction brand in Europe and the strong trading performance has continued in 2022 with hammer values in recent auctions surpassing impressive 2021 levels. Euro Auctions, will now continue the strategy successfully executed since 1998 of building, strengthening, investing in and growing across its eight locations in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Germany, Spain, Australia, and the United States. Euro Auctions will continue to be the auction house of choice in three continents with an unrivalled customer proposition.

    “Euro Auctions would like to thank all its customers and suppliers and in particular its employees for their continued loyalty and looks forward to a new and exciting future together as an independent company. The focus continues to be on the expansion and growth of the business.”

    Euro Auctions Founder and Director Derek Keys said: “We believe that Euro Auctions unreserved model provides our customers with an honest and transparent way to buy and sell heavy equipment globally supported by best in class service from our highly experienced staff. We look forward to accelerating the growth of the Euro Auctions business as an independent global operator.”

    Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers said the Sale and Purchase Agreement dated August 9, 2021 (the “Agreement”) pursuant to which the RB Purchaser had agreed to purchase Euro Auctions Limited, William Keys & Sons Holdings Limited, Equipment & Plant Services Ltd and Equipment Sales Ltd. will automatically terminate on June 28, 2022.

    The Company intends to issue redemption notices with respect to the US$600 million aggregate principal amount of 4.750% senior notes due 2031 and the C$425 million aggregate principal amount of 4.950% senior notes due 2029 previously issued to finance a portion of the cash consideration for the proposed acquisition and expects to complete the redemptions within 10 business days.

    Ann Fandozzi, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are disappointed by the decision taken by the CMA to refer the proposed acquisition to a Phase 2 review and respectfully disagree with their views. While we believe the proposed acquisition would have accelerated our strategy, we remain committed to forging ahead in our transformational journey to become the trusted global marketplace for insights, services and transaction solutions. We will continue to seek out and execute on organic investments and key acquisitions to accelerate our pace in achieving our ultimate vision.”