Iceland founder and executive chairman Sir Malcolm Walker and CEO Tarsem Dhaliwal have taken full ownership of the frozen food chain.
The pair have bought investment firm Brait’s shareholding in the business through a newly established company that they wholly own.
It means Iceland Foods is now 100% owned by Walker and Dhaliwal and their related parties.
It’s the first time in the chain’s history that the Walker family has owned more than 50% of the company, since it started in 1970 as a 50/50 partnership between Malcolm Walker and Peter Hinchcliffe.
Brait announced in November last year that it planned to offload stakes in both Iceland and New Look as part of a recapitalisation plan to reduce debt.
The South African company owned 63% of Iceland, with the remainder held by Malcolm Walker, his son and the chain’s MD Richard Walker, and other members of the management team. Brait’s shareholding has been sold to Malcolm Walker and Tarsem Dhaliwal for £115m.
“It is particularly satisfying to turn this new page in Iceland’s history just before the 50th anniversary of the opening of our first shop on 18 November 1970,” said Malcolm Walker. “Having started the business in partnership with a friend, I am delighted to have come full circle and own what are now more than 1,000 stores with another good friend in 2020.
“Over the last half century we have had a series of external investors in our business but I have no hesitation in saying that Brait has been the best. They have been consistently understanding and supportive, and were friends as well as business partners. I am sure that friendship will endure, and Tarsem and I wish them every success in the future.”
Dhaliwal said: “We are grateful to Brait for giving us this opportunity to take full ownership of Iceland. We have always been a genuine family business and it is not just Sir Malcolm and I but many of our colleagues who have children working for the company. We are totally committed to running and growing this business for the long-term benefit of all our stakeholders and their families.
“Sir Malcolm and I will always have the wellbeing of our 25,000 Iceland colleagues and five million customers close to our hearts and we very much look forward to doing it right for another 50 years as we begin this next exciting chapter in the Iceland story.”