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Berggruen makes move on bankrupt Schlecker
Friday 25 May 2012

25 May 2012 - Nicolas Berggruen, the billionaire investor who owns German department store operator Karstadt, has tabled an offer for Anton Schlecker eK, the German drugstore chain that filed for bankruptcy in January, the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) reported on Friday quoting knowledgeable sources.

The FTD was told that Berggruen's offer was in the lower triple-digit million euro range, putting it close to the bottom of what Schlecker's creditors deem an acceptable price. According to some sources, Berggruen has no interest in the company itself but in its assets. It remains to be seen whether creditors will go for the offer since the amount proposed by Berggruen is lower than the separate value of  Schlecker's units, the newspaper said.

French-based Euler Hermes SA (EPA:ELE), the biggest creditor to the insolvent company, is believed to have reservations about the deal but it told the FTD that it was willing to engage in talks.

In case Berggruen manages to clinch a deal, it would be his second rescue of a bankrupt German retailer. This was how the US-German investor acquired Karstadt in 2010.

Citing a person close to Berggruen, Reuters had earlier reported that Schlecker's creditors were scheduled to gather today to decide the company's future, possibly also selecting a buyer for the remnants of the chain. German daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten came out with a report saying that Berggruen had stepped into the picture two weeks ago and was offering between EUR100m (USD126m) and EUR500m.
Date Published: 25/05/2012
Target: Anton Schlecker eK
Country: Germany
Sector: Wholesale/Retail
Type: Corporate acquisition
Status: Bidding, Speculation
Vendor: Administrator
Buyer: Nicolas Berggruen