Billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn acquires Dutch retailer Hema

Dutch discount retail chain Hema has been acquired by Ramphastos Investments, the investment company owned by Dutch billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn. The company, which is owned by British investment firm Lion Capital LLP since 2007, intends to improve its profitability, grow its e-commerce and expand internationally over the next few years. The transaction value was not disclosed.

“I am very pleased that Ramphastos is becoming the new owner of Hema. This is the best scenario for Hema, our customers, staff and franchisees”, said Hema’s CEO, Tjeerd Jegen, in a statement. Bookhorn added: “Hema is an iconic brand with fantastic international opportunities, but there are also sufficient prospects for growth in the Netherlands. The acquisition fits my ambition to let businesses grow. Together with Hema’s staff and its franchisees, I want to support Hema in becoming a global brand”.

Hema aims to expand internationally

Founded in 1926, Hema has 750 stores in nine countries, but Holland and Belgium are its core markets. Its wide product range includes apparel, make up, stationary and home decor, among other categories. The Dutch retailer added in its statement that it is looking for opportunities to increase the number of international partners to accelerate its expansion overseas.

Lion Capital has been trying to sell Hema for quite some time. Several parties manifested their interest in the business, but negotiations didn’t go through. Earlier this year, Belgian investment company Core Equity got very close to becoming Hema’s new owner, but failed to reach an agreement with franchisees over e-commerce costs.

With an estimated net worth of 1.3 billion euro, Boekhoorn invests in more than 30 companies from a wide array of sectors, including Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, mobile telecommunications company Telfort and even the football team N.E.C. Nijmegen. He founded Ramphastos Investments in 1994, after a successful career at Deloitte & Touche.

Photo: Hema newsroom