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Solar Tackle boss: “I couldn’t bear to sell’

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Maryuku Europe Chairman John Loftus (left) is pictured with Solar Tackle owner Martin Locke before the sale fell through.

Martin Locke, the Solar Tackle owner who had reportedly sold his business to Marukyu Europe, pulled out of the deal because he couldn’t bear to hand over his ‘baby’.

The acquisition by the Japanese bait producer had already been announced in certain quarters of the trade press and the news had even appeared on Solar’s own website.

But when Angling International contacted Locke last week he confessed that the deal had not been done. While the terms had been agreed, the announcement was premature. “The truth is the cat was let out of the bag a little early,” added Locke today.

“I felt that by selling the business the soul would go out of it. After 27 years of hard work in getting the company to where it is today I couldn’t come to terms with that. I was brought up with this business and while it has been stressful it has also been very rewarding.

“I have been working for myself for so long that Solar has become my baby. When it came to it I just couldn’t hand it over.”

Marukyu Europe Chairman, John Loftus, had expressed his delight at securing what he described as ‘the perfect fit’ for his company, but today expressed his disappointment in the eventual outcome.

“Martin’s decision to pull out was purely an emotional one. Everything was agreed, the documents signed and the money transferred, but ultimately Martin had difficulty in relating to working in a corporate environment,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate because the acquisition made a great deal of sense and would have been good for both parties.”

Despite the disappointment, Loftus revealed that he will continue to look for further acquisition opportunities. Setting up a manufacturing plant in Europe and diversifying into other products are also part of his brief. “Marukyu has made no secret of the fact that it is looking to expand its European operation,” he added.

Locke confirmed that he will continue to trade independently and that business is very much as usual at his Dartford, Kent, operation. A new bait factory is planned, along with new products for next year.

The purchase of Solar Tackle would have been Marukyu Europe’s first acquisition since it was formed in 2010.

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