Czech investment vehicle EP Global Commerce (EPGC) owned by Czech/Slovak billionaires Patrik Tkac and Daniel Kretinsky may take control of German retail giant Metro, local media reported.
EPGC announced on August 24 it is buying a 7.3% share in Metro AG, the third biggest European retail chain. The Czech/Slovak firm also ensured a call option for another 15.2% from the biggest shareholder in Metro AG, Haniel Finance Deutschland.
The value of the deal was not disclosed, but according to Czech business daily E15, it should come to billions of euros. The bourse value of shares owned by Haniel Finance Deutschland is €977mn, while the value of Metro AG is around €5bn.
The deal must be approved by the supervisory board of Haniel Finance and by watchdogs. “Our aim is to use the option period to confirm our belief that we will positively contribute to Metro AG as investors. If this assumption holds true, we will use the option. And we don’t exclude acquisition of shares from other shareholders,” Kretinky said on August 24.
On August 27, Czech media informed that another shareholder — Ceconomy AG — stated EPGC is negotiating with them to buy a 10% share.
With the option, EPGC would hold more than 30% of the shares. According to German law, the Czech/Slovak group would then have to offer to buy shares from remaining shareholders. This would open the way for EPGC to control a retail giant with more than 150,000 employees.
Metro shares increased by 18% to a four-month high. On August 27, the value of shares jumped by 12% against the cap on August 24. The value of one share is around €13.30.
Metro AG has a retail chain Makro in Czechia with 13 shops and Metro chain in Slovakia with six shops. Metro’s Cash & Carry brand serves more than 21mn consumers.
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