Dutch firm in talks to get behind wheel at Raleigh

The British bicycle maker Raleigh is set to fall into overseas hands after a Dutch rival, Accell, said yesterday that it was in exclusive talks over buying the business.

The discussions come as Raleigh – renowned for best-selling bikes such as the 1970s Chopper and the Raleigh Burner – celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The size of the deal is undisclosed but it is likely to reap millions for Raleigh's majority shareholder, Alan Finden-Crofts, who took control of the business in 1987.

The Nottingham-based company has about 180 staff in the UK and 900 worldwide. It sold 850,000 bicycles last year, though it moved production of its bikes to the Far East in 2002.

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