After almost a year of merger negotiations between Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt, the merger of the two department store chains has now finally been completed.

After the Cartel Office approved the merger of the department store chains Kaufhof and Karstadt last month, it was officially completed on November 30, 2018.

Merger produces largest European omnichannel supplier

The merger of the two leading department stores Galeria Kaufhof (Hudson’s Bay Company) and Karstadt (Signa Holding GmbH) creates one of the largest European omnichannel providers. It has 243 inner city locations and a strong e-commerce platform. The new CEO of the resulting joint venture is Karstadt CEO Dr. Stephan Fanderl. His team will consist of executives from the companies Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt.

Joint venture with sales in the billions

The joint venture combines Galeria Kaufhof GmbH and Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH. In addition, the other retail business of HBC Europe (Saks OFF 5TH, Galeria Inno in Belgium and Hudson´s Bay in the Netherlands) as well as Karstadt Sports and the food and beverage areas of both companies will be merged. These include Dinea, Galeria Gourmet, Karstadt Feinkost and Le Buffet. The joint venture has a total of 32,000 employees and a turnover of around 5 billion euros.

Signa Holding holds majority of shares

The subsidiary is 50.01% owned by Signa and 49.99% by HBC. Sigma Holding thus holds the majority of the new company. In addition, Signa has acquired half of the German real estate assets of HBC and its partners. In addition, the Austrian real estate and trading company will acquire 50% of a further 18 properties from Galeria Kaufhof, as well as the entire stake in the Kaufhof flagship stores Hohe Strasse in Cologne and Carsch-Haus Düsseldorf, at the beginning of 2019 on the usual transaction terms.

Successful conclusion of merger negotiations

René Benko, Chairman of the Signa Group, has been interested in purchasing Galeria Kaufhof for more than seven years. After two unsuccessful takeover attempts, merger negotiations between HBC and Sigma have now been in progress since the end of 2017.

The parties hope that the merger will improve their competitive position, in particular with regard to the strong pressure in online retailing. Already during the merger negotiations, more efficient processes, a broader product range, new formats in stationary retail and more efficient online platforms were under discussion. This brings them a step closer to their goal of making the retail business more sustainable in the future.


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Link: Galleria Kaufhof merges with Karstadt

Image: Galeria Kaufhof GmbH