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PHS Group the country's leading supplier of plumbed-in water coolers has bought out its main rival UK Water in a cash-only deal for more than $9 million (U.S.).
The move marks a radical consolidation in the UK market for plumbed-in coolers, which is now shared by only three companies.
The wider market for bottled water dispensers which depends on regular deliveries of bottles is divided among a larger number of businesses. But plumbed in coolers are gaining in popularity, especially in offices, because they are seen as healthier and more convenient.
Peter Cohen, chief executive of PHS Group, said the acquisition of UK Water is "an important strategic move" for his company.