Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky is hoping to increase his share in French electronics group Fnac Darty. The latter is also keen, as it wants to get rid of the curious situation where rival Ceconomy is also a co-owner.
Help or hindrance?
The wealthy Czech businessman, who also previously bought Metro and Casino shares, continues to set his sights on Fnac Darty. Kretinsky already owns 20 % of the electronics group’s shares, but now he wants to acquire the 24 % of German rival shareholder Ceconomy, BFM Business reports.
In 2017, Ceconomy bought the stake of luxury group Kering, suddenly giving the owner of Media Markt and Saturn a firm foothold in rival Fnac Darty. The idea was to help create synergies, team up or possibly even merge, but nothing ever came of that.
In fact, Fnac Darty now sees Ceconomy as an annoying hindrance, blocking progress. Indeed, the group hopes to leave the stock market – where its shares have been stagnant for years – and enter into other collaborations. For instance, CEO Enrique Martinez and Kretinsky would like to acquire online player CDiscount (currently owned by Casino).
At the moment, it is not clear whether Ceconomy is interested in selling its shares. Still according to BFM, Kretinsky is said to have approached the German group several times over the past year, but without result. However, Reuters reports that the Mediamarkt parent has denies this, saying that these are purely rumours and no talks are be held yet.
Even if Ceconomy does not want to sell, Fnac Darty is already impatiently looking at other options. For instance, the management is considering to quit the stock market with the help of an investment fund. It may also want to make an acquisition that Kretinsky co-finances. The Czech could thus increase its stake without Ceconomy having to give way. The grip of the German rival will then naturally dilute.