Barenbrug enters agreement to acquire UK seed specialist Watson Group

March 14, 2023 – The Royal Barenbrug Group, a global grass-seed industry leader, has entered an agreement for its UK business to acquire Watson Group of companies, an independent seed specialist . The acquisition will strengthen Barenbrug’s business in the UK while enabling Watson Group to consolidate its own growth.

Based in Scotland, Watson Seed is a family business founded 33 years ago by third-generation seedsman Johnny Watson. The company is well known and respected in the UK seed industry, with both retail and wholesale activities, and has seen significant growth in recent years. Barenbrug UK has been a major supplier to Watson Group over the years, and the companies share similar values of integrity, trust, quality, and customer-centricity.


These businesses will add retail capabilities and strengthen the Scottish presence of Barenbrug’s UK operations. Barenbrug will also be able to combine Watson Groups’ on-farm trials and variety observation work with its own Scottish variety trials to complement its well-established grass-breeding programme. This will all enable Barenbrug to continue growing in the grass-seed marketplace in the UK.


For the Watson group of companies, the acquisition will provide access to Barenbrug’s expert grass-seed knowledge, high-quality genetics and material, and technical support. These resources will give Watson Group an opportunity to consolidate and continue its growth.


Following the acquisition, Barenbrug UK and the Watson group of companies will continue to function as separate identities. They will maintain the same business relationships and ensure customers continue to receive the high-quality services they are used to, while benefiting from each other’s expertise.


Johnny Watson, founder and owner Watson Group: “I’m delighted to see Watson Group acquired by a company that truly understands our business. This is a meeting of minds between two companies with a shared commitment to excellence in grass. With Barenbrug’s formidable resources – global R&D, genetic know-how and technical support – we’ll be able to address even more of our customers’ challenges and opportunities. An exciting chapter lies ahead!”


Paul Johnson, Managing Director Barenbrug UK: “We are very proud to welcome Watson Group to the Barenbrug family! Barenbrug UK’s acquisition of Watson Group reflects the strength of our long-standing relationship, and the close alignment of our ethos and values. Making Watson Group part of our company will significantly enhance our offering in Scotland, adding to our existing locations and strengthening our position across the UK. As such, it’s a major milestone for our growing UK business!”


More information will follow after closing.


About Royal Barenbrug Group

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Barenbrug is a fourth-generation, family-owned company dedicated to the research, development and production of grass seeds & legumes for agricultural and recreational markets. With over 900 employees, active in more than 20 countries on six continents in all major climate regions, our mission is to increase animal productivity to help feed the world and enhance the enjoyment of green spaces. Together, our operating companies deliver annual net sales in excess of €350 million. More information can be found at 

About Watson Group

Watson Group is an independent seed specialist business based in Scotland. It supplies estates, farms and crofts across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland either directly or through its network of appointed agents and distributors. The business has strong links with leading plant breeders and variety-trialling organisations, enabling Watson Group to supply the latest grass varieties and the best advice to meet the tough challenges of today's farming environment. More information can be found at