A Northern Ireland business that started as a family-owned bike shop in County Antrim is now part of a global sports group listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
Online icycle accessory retailer Chain Reaction Cycles, founded by the Watson family in Ballynure in 1995, merged with their biggest rival Wiggle five years ago.
Its presence in Northern Ireland has since narrowed, with most of its warehouses and a bicycle workshop shutting down.
However, there remains a brick and mortar store near Boucher Road in Belfast and premises in Mallusk.
But in its heyday, CRC was Royal Mail’s biggest customer in Northern Ireland, helping to fuel the growing popularity of cycling as a hobby.
However, WiggleCRC did not say when asked how many employees remained at the CRC business in Northern Ireland. At the time of the Wiggle takeover, there were around 450 employees and a turnover of over £ 150million.
Now German company SIGNA Sports United has completed its takeover of the company behind Wiggle and CRC in a $ 383 million deal that created the world’s largest online cycling platform. .
And on Wednesday, SIGNA Sports United began trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “SSU”.
Huw Crwys-Williams, Managing Director of WiggleCRC, said: “At Wiggle CRC, we are thrilled to be part of the SIGNA Sports United group and in doing so, to form the largest online cycling platform in the world.
“This announcement represents a fantastic opportunity for the continued growth of our brands and we are very excited about what the future holds for our businesses across the UK, including Northern Ireland.”
SIGNA Sports United Managing Director Stephan Zoll said the New York Stock Exchange listing was “a milestone for SIGNA Sports United”.
He said the move will give the company the capital it needs to strengthen its position in e-commerce and technology and continue to expand in Europe and the United States.
Mr. Zoll added: “The acquisition of WiggleCRC is a huge strategic achievement for us, strongly complementing our geographic footprint and providing various synergies in the bicycle category.
“We are delighted to welcome the Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles team to our group and look forward to mutually expanding our position as the world’s leading online cycling platform. “
Mike Özkan, President-Elect of the Board of Directors of SSU, added: “With the closing of the business combination as well as the acquisition of WiggleCRC, SSU takes another step to accelerate its global expansion as a NYSE listed company. .
“The listing will enable the company to accelerate the strategic consolidation of the e-commerce and sports technology industry. “
In September last year, Wiggle and CRC announced plans to cut around 62 jobs in Northern Ireland.
Staff were to be given the opportunity to apply for jobs in Wolverhampton or other positions in Northern Ireland.