Courier firm Yodel has been snapped up in a last-minute rescue deal by a consortium led by rival operator Shift.
The parcel delivery giant, which had been owned by the Barclay family, secured the deal amid reports last week it was lining up potential administrators in case a takeover could not be agreed.
On Tuesday, Yodel said it was acquired by a new consortium, called YDLGP, which includes Jacob Corlett, the founder of logistics firm Shift, and investment bank Solano Partners.
The move will safeguard the future of “thousands of UK jobs” at Yodel, the new buyers said.
The Shift-led consortium had been in discussion with Yodel over a potential deal since last summer.
Yodel, which has a raft of major clients including Argos, Very.com, Vinted and Wren Kitchens, posted revenues of £561.8 million in the previous financial year.
YDLGP will also take complete control of Shift as part of the process.
It is the latest deal for Shift, which bought the Tuffnells brand last year after it fell into administration.
Mike Hancox, chief executive officer of Yodel, said: “We’re extremely excited to begin the next chapter of Yodel’s journey, leveraging the scale of our business with the support of new shareholders and the future benefits of the Shift technology platform.
“Our customers have always been our priority and the transaction announced today allows us to ensure continuity for them, as well as our employees and wider stakeholders.”
Jacob Corlett, chief executive officer of Shift, said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have built at Shift in the last few years, rapidly scaling our tech-logistics platform, and M&A (mergers and acquisition) has been a big part of that success.
“At the heart of this merger is Shift’s revolutionary AI-driven technology platform, promising a future where efficiency and automation become the backbone of logistics operations.”
Jon Edirmanasinghe, founding partner of Solano: “We believe there is a fantastic opportunity to harness the strong brand and scale of Yodel in the UK and take further market share with the support of fresh capital and the innovative technology provided by the Shift team.”