French hypermarket chain Auchan has acquired the 91 Real hypermarkets in Central and Eastern Europe from German distributor Metro. Double win for the Germans: they have since long been trying to refocus on their core businesses and in doing so, they receive a reward of 1.1 billion euro.
Assimilation into Auchans
Auchan takes over all of Real's hypermarkets in Poland, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine: in these countries, the name 'Real' will disappear as the hypermarkets will be assimilated into Auchans. The French chain also acquires Real's real estate, including thirteen shopping centres in Russia and Romania.
In the four countries concerned, Real has a yearly tunrover of 2.6 billion euro and employs 20,000 people. The new stores will almost double Auchan's current presence of 98 hypermarkets in these countries.
Second major acquisition in CEE
Although the two main parties have agreed to the transaction, it still needs approval of the competiton agencies in the four countries. Auchan hopes to finish the deal somewhere next year.
This is the second major acquisition this year for Auchan in the CEE region, after buying all seven Hungarian Cora hypermarkets from the Belgian Louis Delhaize chain last April.
Focus on core businesses
The Metro Group has been trying to focus on its two main strengths, cash and carry (Metro, Makro) and consumer electronics (Media Markt, Saturn), and is in a long process of cutting off less profitable parts of its empire. After shelving the sale of Galeria Kaufhof, this transaction is Metro's first big step towards achieving that goal.
Still, the lion's share of Real is not part of the deal, as the 316 German and 12 Turkish hypermarkets (generating a turnover of 8.6 billion euro) remain under Metro's control. Their future within the German group is unclear.