A MULTINATIONAL drinks distributor is set to acquire a Hampshire based convenience retailer out of administration, saving 1,300 jobs.

Bargain Booze, owned by Conviviality has offered to acquire the business and assets of almost 130 stores under the Central Convenience brand from Ringwood-based WS Retail, a subsidiary of Palmer & Harvey McLane.

The £25m proposed deal will include 109 convenience stores and the rights as franchisor for 18 franchisee-operated outlets.

The retailer which turned over £75.7m in the 2016/17 financial year has 127 stores across England which include 20 petrol forecourts and 47 outlets incorporating post offices.

Conviviality will fund the acquisition through a purchase of eight million shares at a price of 375p each, which will raise proceeds of almost £30m.

Company bosses said that the acquisition of Central Convenience would strengthen its presence in the south and south west of England.

Diana Hunter, chief executive of Conviviality, said: "We are pleased to have finalised terms for a potential acquisition of Central Convenience as it provides a clear opportunity to accelerate the growth and reach of the existing Conviviality Retail business, notably broadening our geographic footprint in the south and south west of England.

"The acquisition will support our strategic goal to be the drinks and impulse sector's leading independent distributor and we believe that potential exists for a range of synergies and increased returns for Conviviality's shareholders."

As previously reported, Hove-headquartered Palmer & Harvey McLane called in administrators from PwC on Tuesday, November 28 resulting in the loss of 229 jobs in Hampshire and 2,500 nationally.

However the collapse at the time did not effect WS Retail Ltd and only affected Palmer & Harvey (Holdings) plc; Palmer & Harvey McLane Ltd; Palmer & Harvey McLane (Holdings) Ltd; P&H (1925) Ltd; P&H Direct Van Sales Ltd; P&H Sweetdirect Ltd; P&H Direct Ltd; and P&H Snacksdirect Ltd.

But after several weeks of normal trading, WS Retail was then placed in administration early yesterday with administrators Pricewaterhouse Coppers appointed to manage the process.

Following several hours of negotiations, the business was then immediately transferred to Conviviality.