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Investor Rene Benko to buy German Karstadt by end-Aug - report
Thursday 14 August 2014

14 August 2014 – Austrian property investor Rene Benko is preparing to acquire German department store chain Karstadt Warenhous GmbH in a transaction expected to close by the end of August, Reuters reported, citing two insiders.

The suitor has secured an option to buy the struggling retailer from US investor Nicolas Berggruen from the end of the month. The business will become an asset of Benko once regulators greenlight the deal, according to the sources.

On Wednesday, local magazine Format quoted Benko as saying that he had been contacted to help the loss-making chain by replacing Berggruen as its owner.

Karstadt was on the brink of insolvency when Berggruen bought the company in 2010. He has however been accused by local media and unions of not investing sufficiently in the chain, thus allowing rival Kaufhof Warenhous GmBH, the department store unit of Metro AG (ETR:MEO), to eat into its market share.
In July, Karstadt CEO Eva-Lotta Sjoestedt resigned after less than five months in the top job, fuelling speculation that Berggruen could sell the business to the Austrian investor at a low price.
Date Published: 14/08/2014
Target: Karstadt Warenhous GmbH
Country: Germany
Sector: Wholesale/Retail
Type: Corporate acquisition
Status: Speculation
Vendor: Nicolas Berggruen
Buyer: Rene Benko