German department store chains Karstadt, Kaufhof set to merge
The strategic goal of the joint venture is to make the new entity fit for the future and to develop one of the leading omnichannel retailers in the digital age. The joint venture offers numerous opportunities, including more efficient processes, a broader product assortment, innovative retail formats, and well-performing online platforms.
SIGNA and HBC will form a new retail company, which will include Galeria Kaufhof GmbH, Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, the entire retail business of HBC Europe (Saks OFF 5TH, Galeria Inno in Belgium, Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands), as well as Karstadt Sports and the entire food and catering departments of both companies (Dinea, Galeria Gourmet, Karstadt Feinkost, Le Buffet).
It will thereby have 243 established city-center locations in Europe and employ a total of 32,000 staff. SIGNA Retail will hold 50.01 percent of the shares of the holding company and HBC 49.99 percent. The newly formed retail company will be led by Dr. Stephan Fanderl, current CEO of Karstadt & SIGNA Retail, and include representatives from Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt.
In addition, the joint venture will bring together the E-commerce businesses Galeria-kaufhof.de, saks-off-5th.de, inno.be, hudsonsbay.nl, dinea.de, karstadt.de, karstadt-restaurant.de, karstadt-reisen.de, hood.de, kisura.de and karstadtsports.de. This combined online presence provides a strong platform for further growth in E-commerce.
With the partnership, SIGNA Prime Selection AG will acquire a 50 percent equity interest in HBC’s European real estate holdings. These assets will include 39 properties owned by HBC’s existing Joint Venture in Europe and 18 additional properties held at Galeria Kaufhof.
HBC will continue to hold 50 percent of the real estate assets, which has appreciated over its three-year ownership. The Kaufhof location in Cologne and the Carsch-Haus in Duesseldorf will be subsequently acquired by SIGNA Prime Selection AG and the proceeds will be invested in the combined retail entity and repay debt.
HBC and SIGNA Group have come to an agreement with the corresponding contracts already signed. The closing of the transaction is subject to approval from the antitrust authorities. ■