Russian billionaire buys Holland & Barrett for £1.8bn

Health food chain Holland & Barrett has been acquired for £1.8 billion by a retail investment fund controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

Holland & Barrett, which employs more than 4,200 people, has been sold to a fund controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

L1 Retail, an arm of the tycoon’s LetterOne holding company, has snapped up the retailer from its parent firm Nature’s Bounty, which is owned by private equity giant Carlyle.

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The fund’s managing partner Stephan DuCharme said: “Holland & Barrett is a clear market leader in the UK health and wellness retail market, with attractive growth positions in other European and international markets, and growing online presence, with a leading customer loyalty programme and 10 million active cardholders.”

He added that the group will look to take a bigger slice of the growing £10bn health and wellness market, adding that L1 Retail will continue to work with Holland & Barrett chief executive Peter Aldis.

Headquartered in Nuneaton, Holland & Barrett’s annual revenues in 2016 exceeded £610 million.

Founded in 1870, it is now Europe’s largest health food chain, has outlets in more than 1,150 locations and employs a workforce of more than 4,200.

Aldis said: “We have upgraded much of our core store portfolio to concept stores to deliver additional in-store theatre and increased customer engagement. New products launched through our ethical sourcing programme have also been a key growth driver.”

Led by DuCharme, L1’s advisory board is made up of Karl-Heinz Holland and John Walden, the former bosses of Lidl and Home Retail Group respectively. They are joined by Clive Humby, co-founder of customer data company Dunnhumby.