Holland & Barrett sold to Russian billionaire for £1.8bn

Europe’s largest health food chain has been bought by L1 Retail, an investment fund run by Mikhail Fridman.

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

L1 Retail, a division of the tycoon’s LetterOne holding company, purchased the retailer from its parent firm, Nature’s Bounty, which is owned by the private equity firm Carlyle.

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.”

The group hoped to take a bigger slice of the growing £10bn health and wellness market, he said, adding that L1 Retail would continue to work with Holland & Barrett’s chief executive, Peter Aldis.

Founded in 1870 and headquartered in Nuneaton, Holland & Barrett is Europe’s largest health food chain with outlets in more than 1,150 locations and a workforce exceeding 4,200. The company’s annual revenues in 2016 exceeded £610m.

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.

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