Ahold Buys Dutch E-tailer

AMSTERDAM — Ahold [2] here said Monday it has agreed to acquire bol.com, the Netherlands’ largest online retailer, for about $470 million in cash.

“We welcome bol.com to our family of strong retail brands,” said Dick Boer [3], chief executive officer, Ahold. “Bol.com provides us with the platform, scale and expertise we need to accelerate our growth in online retailing. Its capabilities and operations in nonfood categories will broaden our assortment and increase our online presence, adding to the existing online food offering through albert.nl. Together, we will be able to offer customers more choice, greater convenience and better value.”

Ahold said bol.com is the most visited retail website in the Netherlands with 3.4 million active customers and sales of about $475 million in 2011. It offers a broad range of nonfood products, including books, entertainment, electronics and toys. Almost half of all Dutch customers who purchased products online shopped at bol.com in 2011, according to Ahold.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Ahold’s earnings per share immediately, the company said.

Bol.com will become the fifth retail brand for Ahold in the Netherlands, alongside its core Albert Heijn supermarket chain, Etos, Gall & Gall and albert.nl.

Ahold said the current management team will continue to lead bol.com, which will remain located in Utrecht. Bol.com is currently owned by Cyrte Investments and NPM Capital. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.