Direct Investments

NORD Holding sells the RUF Group to Waterland Private Equity


NORD Holding Unternehmensbeteiligungsgesellschaft mbH (“NORD Holding”) has sold its shares in the RUF Group (“the company”), one of the leading German providers of high-quality upholstered and box spring beds. The buyer is the investment company Waterland Private Equity (“Waterland“). It was agreed that the details of the transaction will not be disclosed.

The RUF Group, which is based in Rastatt (RUF Betten) and Berlin (BRUNO Interior), is one of the leading providers of high-quality upholstered and box spring beds and has been operating for almost 100 years. The company designs and produces upholstered and box spring beds, mattresses and accessories, which are sold both directly in E-commerce via its own online shop as well as via retail furniture stores or online shops of retailers in Germany and other EU countries. The products are marketed under two successful brands, RUF Betten and BRUNO, which cover different customer groups and price segments. With its 200 well-trained employees, the RUF Group achieved a turnover of roughly EUR 60 million in 2020.

NORD Holding identified the RUF Group as a strong investment opportunity and acquired the company in 2016 as part of a carve out from the family-run Hüls Group. In doing so, NORD Holding was able to build on its great track record as a private equity investor in succession situations and carve outs.

In close collaboration with the company’s dedicated management team, NORD Holding was able to initiate and supervise important development steps for the RUF Group.

  • Setting up a multi-brand strategy to diversify the customer groups and price segments
  • Expanding the supply chain
  • Purchasing the E-commerce business BRUNO Interior in a targeted manner in order to establish a multi-channel strategy
  • Prioritising the digitisation of the RUF Group in order, among other things, to be able to offer digital product support with the product configurator and to be able to better monitor the customer journey
  • Expanding internationally by broadening the geographic presence and licensing in Asian markets

Ronald Grott, Executive Director of NORD Holding, says:

"We are very proud of the growth and the success that the RUF Group has achieved in the last five years. This involvement is a great example of NORD Holding’s strategy of supporting premium companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and management teams to expand internationally and promote growth via transformative M&A. We have no doubt that the RUF Group and its almost 200 employees will continue to develop positively under Waterland’s leadership. We would like to thank them all for their work and wish them every success for the future.

Thanks to the support from NORD Holding, we have seen outstanding development in recent years. We want to take this development to the next level with Waterland. We look forward to working together and to new, innovative methods”, says Heiner Goossens, Managing Director of RUF Betten.

“We think that the new partnership will provide even more value creation leverage, including internationally and particularly in the D2C sector. We look forward to further strengthening the BRUNO and RUF brands with Waterland over the coming years”, adds Dr. Felix Baer, Managing Director of BRUNO.

"RUF Betten has a broad, loyal customer base, an ambitious workforce and experienced management. With BRUNO, the Group is also excellently positioned in the direct-to-consumer segment and has been able to steadily gain market share in recent years," explains Dr. Carsten Rahlfs, Managing Partner at Waterland. "We want to expand this growth course through organic impulses and further acquisitions in the coming years. We look forward to a successful partnership."

NORD Holding (represented by Ronald Grott and Moritz Stolp) received advice on the transaction from IMAP (M&A); CMS (legal); KPMG (financial and taxes) and ERM (ESG).


About Waterland

Waterland is an independent private equity investment company, which helps companies to achieve their growth plans. With substantial financial support and sector expertise, Waterland facilitates accelerated growth for its investments, both organically and via acquisitions. Waterland has offices in the Netherlands (Bussum), Belgium (Antwerp), France (Paris), Germany (Hamburg, Munich), Poland (Warsaw), the UK (London, Manchester), Ireland (Dublin), Denmark (Copenhagen), Spain (Barcelona) and Switzerland (Zurich). It currently manages over nine billion euros of equity capital funds.

Since its foundation in 1999, Waterland has consistently achieved an above-average performance with its investments. The company ranks number five in the HEC/Dow Jones Private Equity Performance Ranking 2020 and number eight out of global private equity companies in the Preqin Consistent Performers in Global Private Equity & Venture Capital Report 2020. In addition, Real Deals awarded Waterland the title Pan-European House of the Year 2020 at the PE Awards.

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About NORD Holding

With over 50 years of history and assets under management of € 2.5 billion, NORD Holding is one of the leading private equity asset management companies in Germany. The focus is on the business areas of direct investments and fund of funds investments.

The focus of the direct business is on the structuring and financing of corporate succession models, the acquisition of group divisions/subsidiaries and the expansion financing of medium-sized companies. In contrast to most other financial investors, which only manage funds with a limited term, NORD Holding acts as a so-called "evergreen fund" with no term restrictions and invests from its own balance sheet. The company is currently involved in more than 15 companies in Germany and other German-speaking countries.

The Fund Investments division targets the small-cap segment of the European private equity market and focuses on primary, secondary and co-investments. NORD Holding concentrates strongly on buyout managers newly established on the market, operational investment strategies and also regularly acts as an anchor investor.

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NORD Holding
Unternehmensbeteiligungsgesellschaft mbH
Walderseestraße 23
30177 Hannover