Ahold preparing bid for Hema, says FD

The owner of the Albert Heijn supermarkets, Ahold, is preparing a bid to take over one of Holland’s best known departments stores, Hema, reports Thursday’s Financieele Dagblad (FD).

Hema, which has 336 stores and an annual turnover of €1.3 bn, was recently put up for sale by Maxeda. Maxeda, which is owned by the US investment firm KKR, also operates the V&D and Bijenkorf department stores. The company wants at least €1bn for Hema.
According to the FD, the Blokker retail chain and Roland Kahn, owner of the youth fashion store Cool Cat, are also interested in acquiring Hema, as are foreign investors. But the paper says that Maxeda may be willing to give Ahold exclusive negotiating rights in the short term.
Ahold has declined to officially comment on the FD’s story which is based on anonymous sources connected to Ahold.
Ahold CEO Anders Moberg has in the past made it clear that he wants the concern to grow in the non-food sector. The company sees Hema not so much as a department store, but a convenience format selling both food and non-food items, says the FD.
The idea would be for Hema to supply Albert Heijn with expertise in the area of home furnishings and kitchen supplies while Albert Heijn would further develop Hema’s food department.
Ahold (which also has a majority stake in the Schuitema and C1000 supermarkets) is the country’s leader in the supermarket sector with a market share of 40% leaving it little room to grow in this area, the FD says.

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