Elliott Investment Management, which holds a more than 3% stake in Ahold Delhaize, supports the idea of of separating Netherlands-based e-commerce operation bol.com from its parent company through a sub-IPO.
Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd., a London-based affiliate of U.S. firm Elliott Investment Management L.P., has revealed that it’s a “significant investor” in retail conglomerate Ahold Delhaize, holding an economic interest of more than 3% in the company.
According to Elliott, the investment “reflects its strong conviction in the quality and prospects of the company’s underlying assets, and in particular the strength and potential of bol.com,” the company’s Netherlands-based e-commerce operation. At its recent Investor Day event, Ahold Delhaize discussed its willingness to explore a subsidiary initial public offering for the business in the second half of 2022, explaining that it hoped to “fully activate the opportunities for bol.com, to fuel its tremendous growth potential and to provide further funding for Ahold Delhaize to execute on its winning strategy.”
Despite the retailer’s assurances that bol.com “will continue to play an important role in the strategic partnership with other brands of Ahold Delhaize in the Benelux,” and “that Ahold Delhaize will retain significant control over bol.com in the long term to ensure its growth and development,” Elliott said that it supported the idea of the sub-IPO as a means of separating bol.com, “which should help unlock significant value for shareholders, thus far concealed within the company’s structure. A more independent bol.com would be a stronger business with a more robust marketplace, benefiting consumers, vendors and employees alike.”
According to Bloomberg, which describes Elliott as an “activist firm,” noting its penchant for “protracted battles with the managers of companies in which it invests, with the firm demanding strategy changes, governance overhauls or divestments in the hopes of boosting shareholder value.” This time around, however, Elliott’s friendlier approach suggests that it sees Ahold Delhaize as open to change.
“We welcome a constructive dialogue with all of our shareholders and we value their input,” an Ahold Delhaize representative was quoted as saying in the Bloomberg article.
Given that Ahold Delhaize has a market value of 31.2 billion euros (US $35.3 billion) a 3% stake would be worth more than $1 billion, Bloomberg reported.
New York-based Elliott is run by billionaire investor Paul Singer.
Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more than 2,000 stores across 23 states and is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.