Netherlands' Royal Ahold acquires online retailer Bol.com for $470 million

Dutch supermarkets owner Royal Ahold NV today said that it had acquired online retailer Bol.com for €350 million ($470 million) in order to boost the sales of its internet unit.

Amsterdam-based Ahold, which owns the Netherlands' largest supermarket chain Albert Heijn, and the Stop & Shop and Giant chains in the US, is acquiring Bol.com from Cyrte Investments and NPM Capital.

Launched in 1999, bol.com is the largest (web) shop in the Netherlands and Belgium with over 3.4 million active customers, who bought almost 17.5 million products in 2011.

bol.com sells books, entertainment, electronic devices and toys. Visitors of the online department store have access to over 5.5 million products, including new and second hand Dutch and foreign books, music, DVDs and games, notebooks, software, PC accessories, electronics, mobile phones, LCD and plasma televisions, a large selection of electronic domestic appliances, toys, e-readers with tens of thousands of e-books and a photo album service.

The shopping website had 2011 revenues of €355 million ($476 million).

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

Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, said, ''We welcome bol.com to our family of strong retail brands. bol.com provides us with the platform, scale and expertise we need to accelerate our growth in online retailing. Its capabilities and operations in non-food 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.''