Metro to pass into American hands?

A Sysco truck in San Diego
Simone Hogan /

German wholesaler Metro has been approached by American catering multinational Sysco about a takeover. The Americans want to buy Metro in order to continue their European expansion.


Food service superpower

It is not yet known what amount Sysco (the self-proclaimed world leader as food supplier for the hotel and catering industry, government agencies and hospitals) is prepared to pay for the German retailer, which operates under the brands Metro and Makro.


Sysco's interest in Metro is not recent: the Americans already wanted to buy a share of the German company at the end of last year as part of its European expansion strategy. In 2016, Sysco already acquired its British counterpart Brakes.


Picking a fight with Kretinsky

Metro has already proved to be a demanding bride: last year, its shareholders rejected a proposal from EP Global Commerce, the investment vehicle of Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky, because they thought his bid of 16 euros per share was too low.


Despite that disappointment, the entrepreneur has managed to gain a share of 29 % and an option to increase that interest to 32 %. If he succeeds, he will also be obliged to launch a takeover bid for the remaining shares. The chance that it will come to a fight between Sysco and EP Global Commerce is therefore quite realistic.


The key question then is what exactly Metro is worth. Today, the stock market valuation amounts to 3.9 billion euros, but the corona virus will have a major impact on the quarterly results as restaurant visits, especially in Germany, will be at a low level. Metro also suffered a net loss of 119 million euros in the previous financial year, but it will soon receive 300 million euros for the sale of its hypermarket chain Real.