The Cartel Office approved the merger between Karstadt and the Kaufhof Gallery. The common chain of stores is facing a difficult restructuring.
The Federal Cartel Office gave the green light for the merger between Karstadt and Kaufhof. Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt said in Bonn: "We have been intensively examining the project and there have been no serious competition concerns from the perspective of the consumer or the producers and suppliers." Karstadt and Kaufhof not only have many competitors in stationary business. Online retail also creates additional competitive pressures.
Shop stores hope to have a more competitive position
The new retail giant will have 243 locations in Europe and employ around 32,000 people. Under the umbrella of the new holding, not only will the German branches Kaufhof and Karstadt be united, but also the Karstadt sports shops, the European branches of the Saks Off 5 distribution chain, the Inno Gallery in Belgium, which were recently founded Hudson's Bay magazine in the Netherlands and a number of Internet providers.
Karstadt receives a small majority of the shares
Officially, there is talk of a "fusion of peers." However, the Signa holding of the Karstadt owner, René Benko, will hold the majority in the new company: Signa receives 50.01% of the shares, the Canadian owner Kaufhof HBC 49.99%. In the future, Signa will have a 50% stake in Kaufhof worth billions.
What the merger will bring to workers and communities is still very uncertain at the moment. There are no figures on the expected job cuts and no information on possible closures. However, Karstadt owner René Benko has recently attempted to alleviate the fears of drastic cuts: "Of course we need to redevelop, but we will fight for each branch and try to put them in black as before," he points out he.