IK sells Dutch retail firm for €500m

Wehkamp, the biggest online fashion, lifestyle and electronics retailer in the Netherlands, has been sold to a group of private investors, enabling IK Investment Partners to exit with returns of five times its initial investment.

Private equity firm IK Investment Partners has sold Wehkamp, a major Dutch online retail company, to a group of private investors for just under €500 million ($625 million), according to industry sources.

The exit followed a restructuring of Wehkamp, which was acquired by the private equity firm from UK retailer GUS in 2006. IK divided the former catalogue company into an online retailer, a debt collection business and a consumer finance business. The online retail business now has more than 5 million visitors to its website per month.

“Wehkamp has been a very profitable investment for IK. The transformation of Wehkamp demonstrates IK’s ability to accelerate growth and implement structural operational improvements in our portfolio companies. We are now ready for the next phase in its development,” Kristaan Nieuwenburg, partner at IK, said in a statement.

The purchasing investor group consists of Wehkamp’s management team, Paul Nijhof and Berend van der Maat, and Ad Scheepbouwer, a shareholder in Wehkamp’s parent company, RFS Holland.

IK, formerly known as Industri Kapital, currently manages €5.7 billion in fund commitments. Wehkamp is its seventh transaction this year, following the acquisitions of French construction firm Etanco, Dutch solar firm Flabeg, and Polish transport provider Axtone, and the divestments of Norwegian storage firm ELFA, Finish paint suppliers CPS Color, and Swedish communications firm Dataphone.