Baar-Zug, Switzerland; 15 November 2019
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed to sell its minority equity stake in Action ("the Company"), Europe's leading non-food discount retailer, on behalf of its clients. The stake will be acquired by Hellman & Friedman ("H&F"), a leading private equity investment firm. Partners Group has held its position in the Company, on behalf of its clients, since 2011.The transaction values Action at an enterprise value of EUR 10.25 billion.
Established in 1993, Netherlands-headquartered Action operated 1,325 stores across seven countries and employed around 46,000 staff as of 2018. Its core product assortment includes decoration, DIY, garden and outdoor, household goods, multimedia, sports, stationery and hobby, toys and entertainment, food and drink, laundry and cleaning, personal care, pets, clothing and linen. Action uses large-scale procurement, flexible assortment, optimal distribution and a cost-conscious corporate culture to ensure very low prices for its customers, with the promise of "more than you expect for less than you imagine". Its business model differs from that of more traditional retailers because only around 35% of its total product range is fixed; the "element of surprise" is essential to its retail format. Action generated net sales of over EUR 4 billion in 2018.
Walter Keller, Partner, who led the transaction for Partners Group and worked with management and investment company 3i on the board of the Company, comments: "Partners Group is pleased to have been able to support the Company through its rapid expansion across Europe over the past eight years. Action has been able to generate extraordinary growth by combining an entrepreneurial culture with a unique retail format. The Company's guiding belief that customers deserve big smiles and small prices has proved hugely compelling to a diverse customer base. While the sale of our stake in Action generates a very attractive return for our clients, we leave the Company extremely well-positioned for continued future growth."
Patrick Healy, Chief Executive of Hellman & Friedman, says: "Action's huge success has been driven by a unique and scalable value proposition built on exceptionally low prices and a distinctive customer experience, supported by a singular focus on operational excellence. We expect favorable growth trends in value retailing to continue and Action is strongly positioned to further capitalize on these, with significant opportunity to extend its footprint across Europe. 3i and Partners Group have done an exceptional job stewarding Action, and we look forward to working with 3i and with Action's best-in-class management team to continue delivering value for Action's customers."