After two years and two foreign owners, the retailer will be back in Dutch hands.
Portuguese investment house Green Swan, which bought Intertoys in March, has agreed to sell the retail chain to the Mirage Toys Group. Mirage Toys Group is owned by Mirage Holding, the new name for Blokker Holding, which owned the toy stores until 2017. The chain will therefore essentially return to its original owners.
Intertoys now has 127 own stores and 80 franchises in the Netherlands, and is considerably reduced in size compared to the period before it was sold to investment company Alteri by the Blokker family in December 2017. Intertoys filed for liquidation at the beginning of this year and the curators sold it to Green Swan.
The deal also includes Maxi Toys, which has 200 shops in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Together, the two chains have annual turnover of €400m.
Green Swan said at the time of the takeover six months ago that it had big plans for Intertoys and it is unclear why the company has now agreed to sell the chain back to its previous owner. Green Swan general manager Rodrigo Saraiva told DutchNews.nl that the deal is a ‘great opportunity’ for everyone: “Mirage’s proposal to maintain the strategy and synergies between companies and brands was seen very positive by Green Swan. We’ll remain collaborative, maintaining the cooperation between these brands and Toys R Us Spain and Portugal.”
Mirage Toys Group chief executive Michiel Witteveen told the press that Intertoys has not been running at full steam under the latest management. “Nothing has been brought in for the festive season,” he said. “We are going to start work on that on Monday.”
For people seeking further insight into what this latest development might mean, BOTI CEO Nico Blauw offered this robust perspective on LinkedIn: “This is (likely) great news for the Benelux toy market, but let’s have a reality check! This is the 3rd owner in only two years’ time. Let’s not forget the devastating effect private equity has had on the current state of the Dutch toy retail market. PE fund Alteri sucked Intertoys dry and walked away with (reportedly) €72m, leaving nothing but a mess (and gets away with it). Then it “sold” it on to PE firm Green Swan, a fund which turned out to be little more than a farce, unsuccessfully betting on suppliers financing their new business. Many people have lost their job because of the dark side of private equity, not only because of the market situation. Unfortunately (Dutch) law allows such opportunity. There is a financial cause, but there is also a moral cause towards society. Bricks and mortar retail is experiencing very difficult times, but don’t underestimate the impact that private equity is having on the current state of the retail landscape.”