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Jon Asgeir Johannesson was born in Reykjavik on 27th of January 1968. His parents, both deceased, were Johannes Jonsson and Asa Karen Asgeirsdottir. After studying at Commercial College of Iceland, Jon Asgeir founded Bonus with his father in 1989.
They started small, working from a 400 square metre warehouse in Skutuvogur but a few years later, Bonus had become the second largest retailer in Iceland and completely changed how Icelandic people viewed low cost food.
Hagkaup, Bonus’s main competitor, bought half of the company in 1992 and the two retailers merged into Baugur Group, which became a leading force in Icelandic retail market and business sector in the coming years. Jon Asgeir was CEO of the new company and under his guidance Baugur Group went global. When Baugur Group was at its strongest it owned the world famous toy store Hamleys, department stores House of Frazer and Debenhams, Karen Millen and other well known and respected high fashion clothing brands. Baugur Group also acquired the Danish department stores Magasin du Nord and Illum. The stores had been losing money for 15 years, but with hard work, new owners managed to turn the business into profitable one. Baugur Group´s biggest project during those years was the acquisition of Booker and Iceland Foods which are without a doubt most successful purchase of Icelandic businessmen ever abroad.
Jon Asgeir´s business history
Founded Bonus along with his father
Bonus merged with Hagkaup and became Baugur Group with Jon Asgeir as CEO.
Baugur acquires 20% stake in retail group Arcadia
Baugur withdraws from takeover bid in Arcadia and sells it´s stake to Philip Green
Baugur buys Hamley´s, world famous toy store.
Baugur acquires jewellery chain Goldsmith
Baugur buys female fashion companies Whistles and Karen Millen
Baugur buys famous Danish department store Magasin du Nord
Baugur acquires Big Food Group and almost instantly splits the company into two separate companies, Iceland Food and Booker
Baugur buys Illum department store in Copenhagen
Baugur buys department store House of Fraser.
Baugur Group was hit hard by the global financial crash in 2008 and filed for insolvency in early 2009. Jon Asgeir has been prominent in Iceland´s media market for the past 15 years. His first acquisition was Frettabladid, the largest daily newspaper in Iceland, in 2002. He bought the Northern Lights, Iceland´s biggest private television and radio company, in November 2004. He merged Frettabladid and Northern Lights into media giant 365 which is now under the ownership of Jon Asgeir´s wife Ingibjorg Palmadottir.
Jon Asgeir has, in recent years, focused on investments both in Iceland and abroad.