Spice agrees to £251m takeover

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The water meter installation group Spice has finally agreed to a £251m takeover offer from the private equity group Cinven after rejecting two earlier offers.

Shares in Spice jumped 4.5 per cent to 70.07p on news of the 70p a share cash offer.

Spice started life with a single contract worth £3m per year after a management buyout of Yorkshire Electricity's maintenance arm in 1996. The group, which also offers specialist engineering services, now turns over more than £300m annually and counts some of the biggest energy companies, including EDF Energy and United Utilities, among its clients.

The company was founded by Simon Rigby, who only stepped down as chief executive after a profits warning in February. He and his family stand to make more than £21m from the deal.