Investment firm Signa Holding tabled a bid for Kaufhof, Galeria Inno and Galeria Kaufhof’s parent company. It already owns several the other major German department store chain, Karstadt. Kaufhof has sixteen Kaufhof locations in Belgium.
Failed attempt in 2015
Canadian Hudson’s Bay currently owns Kaufhof, having acquired it from Metro Group in 2015 for 2.83 billion euro. Signa Holding has now offered nearly 3 billion euro to acquire the chain. It is not the first time it has tried, because it was also one of the interested parties in 2015, losing out to Hudson’s Bay. Led by Austrian real estate investor René Benko, Signa wanted to merge Karstadt’s stores with Galeria Kaufhof’s to create a major German chain.
Signa Holding and Hudson’s Bay have currently refused to comment, but anonymous sources indicated to Reuters that the Canadian company will answer about halfway in November. That indicates it will not flat-out refuse the bid and that an acquisition is possible.
Hudson’s Bay leaves Europe?
It is no surprise Signa has now tabled a bid, seeing how Hudson’s Bay’s board has been bickering for quite some time, often discussing its European approach. One high-profile shareholder demands a complete European divestment. That did not seem a possibility for quite some time, especially since the European conquest was one of CEO Jerry Storch’s projects. Seeing how he has left the company yesterday, a divestment seems to be back on the table.
If it does sell Kaufhof, Hudson’s Bay will leave Belgium and Germany and will only have a Dutch presence left. It begs the question whether every Dutch store will actually open its doors, because several analysts had already doubted the new department stores’ profitability.