Holland & Barrett sold to Russian billionaire for £1.8bn

Helen Cahill
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The retailer has around 600 UK stores (Source: Holland & Barrett)

Holland & Barrett has been sold to a Russian billionaire for £1.8bn, after US private equity firm Carlyle sold the UK's largest health retailer to L1 Retail, a fund controlled by Mikhail Fridman.

The deal, which includes the chain's 1,150 stores, is the first acquisition for L1 Retail. It is thought chief executive Peter Aldis will stay in his position at the company, which has over 4,200 employees. The transaction is expected to close in September.

Read more: Superdrug owner AS Watson mulling a £1bn takeover bid for Holland & Barrett

Carlyle took over Holland & Barrett seven years ago as part of its purchase of US business Nature's Bounty for $3.8bn. The private equity group is looking to sell the entire business, now called NBTY, which includes health brands Sundown Naturals, Pure Protein and MET-Rx.

Peter Aldis, CEO, Holland & Barrett, added: "We are delighted to now be in partnership with the L1 Retail team and its advisory board of internationally-renowned retailers.

"We have upgraded much of our core store portfolio to concept stores to deliver additional in-store theatre and increased customer engagement."

Other names who were reportedly interested in Holland & Barrett included Superdrug owner AS Watson Group, private equity firm Sycamore Partners and the US group KKR.

The sale of Holland & Barrett comes after cosmetics giant L'Oreal said it was in talks with Brazilian firm Natura Cosmeticos over the sale of The Body Shop.

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