Karstadt owner makes new bid for Germany's Kaufhof

The owner of German department store chain Karstadt has made a new takeover offer for rival Kaufhof, owned by retail group Metro, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Speculation has surfaced often about a merger of Germany's two major department store chains and Austrian investor Rene Benko, who owns Karstadt via his Signa Holding vehicle, has previously held talks with Metro on a deal.

AFP

The offer was first reported by German paper Handelsblatt, which cited sources as saying the purchase price was around 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 bn/£2 bn).

Signa Retail has had access to Kaufhof's books and a written offer has been made, the paper reported in an excerpt of an article to be published in its Wednesday edition, citing people familiar with the matter.

Signa and Metro both declined to comment on the report.

Benko previously bid for Kaufhof at the end of 2011, but Metro put the sale on ice at the start of 2012.

But Metro has long said it would be prepared to sell Kaufhof for a fair price in order to focus on its cash and carry and consumer electronic units.

Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in April that Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay was interested in acquiring Kaufhof.

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