RAJA Group, Europe’s leading multichannel distributor of supplies and equipment for businesses, announces having entered into an agreement with AURELIUS to acquire the Viking business operations, including the Office Depot Europe operating business, in seven European countries: the UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. Viking, an iconic brand of Office Depot Europe’s e-commerce activities, is a major player in the BtoB distribution of office supplies and furniture in Europe. The business employs around 1.500 people and generates revenue of close to € 500 million. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.
RAJA Group accelerates its development in Europe
RAJA Group, present in 18 European countries and employing 3,000 people, is Europe’s leading distributor of packaging, and a major player in the office supplies and furniture market since the 2019 acquisition of JPG, Mondoffice and Kalamazoo, the French, Italian and Spanish specialists in workplace solutions. This intended acquisition is part of RAJA Group’s sales growth, customer base expansion, and product diversification strategy, and will allow the Group to strengthen its position and complete its geographical coverage in this strategic market.
“This acquisition represents a tremendous strategic opportunity to strengthen our positions in Europe, in particular in these seven countries, where we are already present with our RAJA subsidiaries. It will further expand the Group’s presence and give new impetus to our ambition in the office supplies market. This acquisition is perfectly aligned with our strategic vision of becoming a global partner of European companies from start-ups to major multinationals, and will reinforce our partnership with globally known brands,” says Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, RAJA Group CEO.
Viking, a major player in office supplies and workplace solutions
Founded in the US in 1960, Viking entered the European market in 1990, first in the United Kingdom before expanding its activity throughout Europe. It revolutionized the distribution of office supplies with its sophisticated catalogue marketing techniques. Creator of the concept of “fanatical customer service”, Viking built customer loyalty and brand awareness with a high level of customer service. Acquired by Office Depot in 1998, and by AURELIUS in 2017, Viking is today a major player in the office supplies and workplace equipment market.
The acquired companies, headquartered in Venlo, the Netherlands, serve 1.2 million customers in Europe and have two large distribution centres, in Großostheim, Germany and Leicester, UK. This acquisition will bring RAJA Group additional growth opportunities in the years to come and a solid foundation for developing its activity in Europe. It will allow the Group to serve more than 2.2 million customers in Europe and reach turnover of €1.6 billion.
“Viking has over 30 years of experience in Europe and has excellent understanding of its customer needs and expectations. The women and men of Viking and RAJA Group share the same values of entrepreneurial spirit and a culture of customer service, which have made our success. Together, we will return to a profitable growth momentum for Viking by leveraging our know-how to develop international customers and our ability to implement synergies in purchasing, marketing, and sales, with JPG, Mondoffice and Kalamazoo, as well as with the RAJA subsidiaries in each country. I am delighted to welcome into our Group the 1,500 new employees with recognized skills and professionalism. Together, we will make an even stronger team to position the RAJA Group as the best partner for European companies,” says Danièle Kapel-Marcovici.
Raffael Reinhold, CEO of Office Depot Europe: “We are delighted about this opportunity with RAJA and we are looking forward to accelerate our business as part of the RAJA group. Being a successful family business, the RAJA Group offers a great base for the future of our business with good potential for a fruitful collaboration and development. The strategic realignment to our core markets and activities made our business attractive for our strategic buyer RAJA and provides a great position to further drive our business together.”
The transaction is subject to approval by the competition authorities and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The RAJA Group is advised by KPMG (finance) and Allen & Overy (legal).