Dutch entrepreneur may buy Hema, international expansion to continue

The Hema store in Soest. Photo: Hema.nl
The Hema store in Soest. Photo: Hema.nl

High street staple Hema is set to be taken over by Dutch entrepreneur and investor Marcel Boekhoorn, the company said on Thursday.

The intended deal includes a new agreement with the company’s franchise owners who have been in dispute about how to divide up earnings from online sales.

Nearly half the 545 Hema stores in the Netherlands are operated under franchise by 96 separate companies. All receive a portion of earnings from Hema’s internet sales within the postcodes in which they operate a Hema franchise.

‘This is the best scenario for Hema, our customers, staff and franchisees,’ chief executive Tjeerd Jegen said in a statement.

‘Hema is an iconic brand with fantastic international opportunities, but there are also sufficient prospects for growth in the Netherlands,’ Boekhoorn said in a press release. ‘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.’

Boekhoorn’s investment company Ramphastos Investments currently holds (primarily majority) interests in over 30 companies in various sectors, including Telfort, Bakker Bart and High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

Lion Capital,which bought Hema in 2007, has been trying to sell the company for some time. The most recent potential buyer was Belgian-based Core Equity which had agreed to pay €1bn for the group earlier this year but later pulled out.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Hema now operates more than 700 stores in nine countries including France, Germany, Spain and the UK, and has a payroll of more than 11,000.

Note: This article was amended to reflect a new press release from Hema. The company now states Boekhoorn intends to take over Hema, rather than that he has already done so.

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