Ahold acquires leading online retailer bol.com, opening the door to new opportunities for both companies
Amsterdam/Utrecht, The Netherlands – Ahold and bol.com today announced that Ahold is acquiring bol.com for €350 million. This is an important next step in Ahold’s growth strategy, which focuses on growing sales by increasing customer loyalty, broadening its offering and expanding geographic reach. Bol.com’s ambition will get an extra boost from being part of a strong international retailing group.
Bol.com is the most visited retail website in the Netherlands serving 3.4 million active customers, with total net sales of €355 million in 2011. It offers a broad range of products in various non-food categories including books, entertainment, electronics and toys. Almost half of all Dutch customers who purchased products online shopped at bol.com in 2011, buying more than 17 million products.
Daniel Ropers, Managing Director of bol.com, sees many advantages for the customer following today’s announcement. “Our ambition is to provide the best retail offering to every customer in the Netherlands and Belgium. From the very beginning, we have worked hard to improve our offering every day, and we’re still bursting with ideas to make our store even better and more inspiring. I am very enthusiastic about combining our online proposition with Ahold’s to create additional benefits for our customers, while maintaining our distinct bol.com identity and style. We are grateful for the support of Cyrte Investments and NPM Capital in recent years.”
Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, said: “We welcome bol.com to our family of strong retail brands. bol.com provides us with the platform, scale and expertise we need to accelerate our growth in online retailing. Its capabilities and operations in non-food categories will broaden our assortment and increase our online presence, adding to the existing online food offering through albert.nl. Together, we will be able to offer customers more choice, greater convenience and better value.”
Boer also said: “This step is about creating growth. Bol.com is one of the best online businesses in Europe today, which is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit, vision and skills of its management and staff. We will invest in bol.com and its strong brand in order to enable it to further expand and enhance its leading online position.”
Bol.com will become the fifth retail brand for Ahold in the Netherlands, alongside Albert Heijn, Etos, Gall & Gall and albert.nl. The current management team will continue to lead bol.com, which will remain located in Utrecht.
Ahold will acquire 100 percent of bol.com from Cyrte Investments and NPM Capital for a transaction value of €350 million, fully paid in cash. Bol.com has a proven track record of delivering double-digit sales growth and attractive returns, and has a strong growth proposition for the Netherlands and Belgium.
The transaction is expected to be accretive for earnings per share from day one. The acquisition is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.
Bol.com opened its doors on 30 March, 1999. Almost 13 years later, the store has over 3.4 million active customers in the Netherlands and Belgium who bought almost 17.5 million products in 2011. This makes bol.com the largest (web)shop in the Netherlands and Belgium and market leader in the field of online sales of books, entertainment, electronic devices and toys. Visitors of the online department store have access to over 5.5 million products with just one mouse click, including new and second hand Dutch and foreign books, music, DVDs and games, notebooks, software, PC accessories, electronics, mobile phones, LCD and plasma televisions, a large selection of electronic domestic appliances, toys, e-readers with tens of thousands of e-books and a photo album service. In February 2011, bol.com Plaza was launched. This made bol.com the first store to give its customers access to products from other stores via the web shop. Market research shows that the store has been one of the most popular stores for Dutch-speaking customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. This appreciation doesn’t only show from the continuous increase in the number of visitors, but also from the many prices awarded to the store by the public, for instance the many Thuiswinkel Awards.
Ahold is an international retailing group based in the Netherlands, with strong local consumer brands in Europe and the United States. In 2011, we had over 3,000 stores, 218,000 employees and € 30,3 billion in sales. The foundation of our company is selling great food and supermarkets are our core business. We provide customers with the best possible value, assortment, and shopping experience. We have embarked on a new strategy to build on our success and significantly grow our company. Our businesses are growing by providing customers with alternatives based on their changing needs. We are accelerating our online offering by building strong local online businesses that support our existing, and potential new, brands. Ahold’s online delivery service in the Netherlands is called albert.nl. Through this service, customers of Albert Heijn (supermarkets), Etos (drugstores) and Gall & Gall (liquor stores) can order their shopping via the internet. In the United States, Peapod provides internet-based home shopping and grocery delivery. Albert.nl is the largest online delivery service in the Netherlands and Peapod is the largest online grocer in the United States. We plan to triple their online sales to €1.5 billion by 2016.
These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the information set forth in these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, unexpected delays in the completion of the acquisition, inability to satisfy any closing conditions to such acquisition, any actions or inactions of government regulators and other third parties and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as per the date of this press release. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold”.