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Issue Date: Vol. 45, No. 8, August 2005, Posted On: 9/7/2005


PMI Acquires R.G. Mitchell's, Jolly Roger; Theisen Vending Remains U.S. Distributor


Marcus Webb

LOUTH, England - Photo-Me International PLC has acquired major assets of leading British kiddie ride maker R.G. Mitchell Ltd., making PMI the UK's leading manufacturer and operator of kiddie rides with more than 5,000 rides on location.

Assets purchased for 3.9 million in cash ($6.85 million) include 3,130 sited and 350 un-sited kiddie rides, a 34,000-sq.ft. factory with its plant and equipment, and intellectual property.

PMI bought Jolly Roger (Amusement Rides) Ltd. in May, 2005, having earlier purchased Jolly Rogers' kiddie ride operating arm in 2004. PMI will merge the manufacturing and management of Jolly Roger and R.G. Mitchell, said PMI chief executive Serge Crasnianski. RGM's 80 employees have been transferred to the PMI group. Roger Newborough, formerly with Jolly Roger, is expected to head the combined sales team. Marshall Ashdown, formerly with RGM, joined PMI prior to the acquisition, and is also expected to remain a key part of the organization, probably in a sales capacity according to sources familiar with the company.

Both Jolly Roger and R.G. Mitchell will continue to be represented in the U.S. market by Theisen Vending Co. (Golden Valley, MN), said Michael Ruegemer, who is Theisen's national director of kiddie ride sales and operations. "For us this event is positive," Ruegemer told VT. "It does not change our relationship with R.G. Mitchell or Jolly Roger. We will continue to represent both, now combined under the PMI banner."

Ruegemer said he believed the acquisitions and mergers would create greater efficiency and would allow the consolidated British ride maker to concentrate on the best products. He added: "We are also pleased that basically we are dealing with the same people we have dealt with for years, namely Roger and Marshall. We at Theisen Vending actually started marrying the two brands in the U.S. market some years ago, because we have represented both, so this is a logical and welcome development for us. We see good things ahead."

PMI has some 5,600 photo booths on location and is the UK's leader in that vending segment. PMI's Crasnianski stated: "As photo booths and kiddie rides are often located adjacently, the acquisition will leverage off PMI's unrivaled UK maintenance and cash collection infrastructure and its relationships with site owners." PMI now has more than 31,000 vending machines worldwide, chiefly in Europe and Japan, including approximately 20,000 photo booths.

Theisen and PMI will probably announce further details of the mergers and consolidations at the upcoming AMOA International Expo, Ruegemer said. Meanwhile, interested parties may contact him at Theisen Vending Co., 2335 Nevada Avenue N., Golden Valley, MN 55427; tel. (800) 633-3436, (612) 827-5588 ext. 124; e-mail: mike@theisenvending.com. The company's website is www.theisenvending.com.


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