AS Watson, Kruidvat’s parent company, has entered negotiations to acquire Holland & Barrett. It is apparently willing to pay one billion pounds (1.15 billion euro).
No official bid
AS Watson has not yet tabled an official bid to acquire Holland & Barrett, with talks between both companies still in their early stages. However, it is not unlikely it will bid for the chain soon. AS Watson could take another huge stride forward in the industry if it had Holland & Barret in its portfolio, because it is already the largest “health & beauty” retailer in Asia and Europe, with more than 13,000 stores and 130,000 employees in 25 countries.
Holland & Barrett is part of NBTY, owned by private equity firm Carlyle, which has been trying to sell NBTY for a while now. It would rather sell the company as a whole and fetch some 5.5 billion euro. However, seeing how it has failed to do so, it is now considering bids for NBTY divisions. AS Watson will face competition for Holland & Barrett, because several private equity firms have also expressed an interest in the chain.
Holland & Barrett operates more than 1,400 stores in sixteen countries. More than half of its own stores are located in the United Kingdom.