Staples sells its 39 Staples Office Centre stores in the Netherlands to KantoorExpert. KantoorExpert is a Dutch supplier of office supplies and equipment with 4 stores and a turnover of approximately 13.5 million euros.
The sale of Office Centre stems from the acquisition of Staples by Cerberus. When buying Staples, the American investment company indicated that it wanted to focus on large companies and that the Office Centre concept did no longer fit within the new Staples filosophy.
“After a lengthy negotiation process, we have reached a definitive agreement this week with the selling party” said Adse de Kock, merger advisor at Oaklins, to the Dutch Financieel Dagblad (FD). The sale is remarkable as KantoorExpert with her relatively modest turnover and 125 employees becomes the owner of the much larger Office Center with a turnover of € 80 million and 550 employees.
KantoorExpert thus becomes a top player in the Dutch market for office supplies and furniture at once. “It may seem odd for outsiders: Tom Thumb swallows the giant. But after eighteen months of deliberation it feels like a comfortable deal for us, ” says Frans Davelaar CEO of the KantoorExpert to the FD.
Davelaar sees enough opportunities for Office Center: “The office supplies market benefits from an improving economy. However, the sale of traditional office items is lagging behind as a result of digitization. The office supplies business used to sell computers and mobile phones, but lost that turnover to the specialized chain stores. I now see opportunities to focus on new IT techniques. Consider, for example, the sale of 3D printers. We can benefit from the familiar name that Office Centre has in the Netherlands .We are not a global player, but should focus on the needs of regional customers. Their demands differ and our offer should match those needs. If we are able to implement this strategy succesfully, a turnover of € 100 mln in five years is possible ”
Goswin Fijen as partner
The acquisition, with a purchase price of around € 40 mln, is financed with own funds and bank loans. In addition, Davelaar works closely with his partner Goswin Fijen. Fijen is chairman of the Dutch trade association of office retailers Novaka and was therefore active at, among others, office furniture manufacturer Roual Ahrend. He will participate 50% in Office Centre and soon also 50% in the KantoorExpert Group.