Advent to take a 75 per cent stake in Hermes UK

Private equity group Advent International has agreed to buy stakes in consumer delivery company Hermes after forming a partnership with the parent company Otto Group.

Sources said that the deal values Hermes UK and Germany at around one billion euros (£900m), including debt.

German retailer Otto said Advent was buying 75 per cent of Hermes UK, based in Leeds, and 25 per cent of Hermes Germany as well as a number of smaller activities, declining to specify figures for revenues or profit.

While no details on the price of the country’s first retail deal during the Covid-19 pandemic were disclosed, two people familiar with the matter said that the deal values Hermes UK and Germany at around one billion euros (£900m), including debt, according to Reuters.

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“In the current financial year, both companies are recording high volume growth in the context of the coronavirus pandemic,” the companies said.

Hermes said the transaction would enable further investment in technology and infrastructure and support the future growth of the business in the rapidly growing parcel delivery sector.

The management of Hermes UK will continue to lead the business as an independent company, with ‘business as usual’ for employees, suppliers and customers, it added.

This follows a recent announcement by Hermes UK that it is looking for more than 10,500 ‘parcel people’ to join its business, to meet the huge demand created by people shopping at home during lockdown, and the continuing growth in the sector. Hermes UK predicts that parcel volumes will reach record levels during the Black Friday and Christmas period.

Martijn de Lange, chief executive at Hermes UK, said: “This is fantastic news for Hermes UK as we continue our upwards trajectory in the fast-growing and capital-hungry home delivery sector.

“The investment will enable us to remain independent and be agile and responsive to future market requirements.

“It will help to expedite the development of our capacity and technology, supporting the introduction of new innovative products and services that will greatly benefit our retail clients and their customers.”

Advent’s current investments in the e-commerce and logistics sector include InPost, a company which provides secure self-service lockers for the collection, return and delivery of parcels that has seen significant growth since Advent’s involvement.

The transaction with Otto Group is subject to approval by the boards and relevant antitrust authorities.