German retail group Metro takes stake in France's Fnac Darty


German retail group Metro said on Wednesday it would buy a large stake in French books and consumer electronics chain Fnac Darty.
Metro will buy some 24.33 percent of shares in Fnac Darty from holding company Artemis for 452 million euros ($526 million) in cash by the end of August, the firm said in a statement.
Metro's move comes as the German group splits into two halves, one keeping the Metro name and focusing on food, while newly-created Ceconomy focuses on consumer electronics.
Ceconomy, which brings together big-brand electronics stores like Saturn and Media Markt, will become Fnac's biggest shareholder.
The investment was part of a strategy to become "the leading European platform for consumer electronics-related businesses, brands and concepts," Ceconomy chief executive Pieter Haas said., calling Fnac a "strong player that is greatly appreciated by consumers."
Fnac Darty has a network of some 689 stores across 10 countries, 479 of them in France, where it claims a 23-percent share of the consumer electronics market.
But the French firm has struggled to make a profit recently as it has been weighed down by one-off costs, reporting a loss of 103 million euros in the first half of 2017 earlier in July.
Artemis is the holding company of the family of French businessman Francois Pinault, who owns the Kering group that includes luxury labels such as Gucci and Balenciaga and sporting brands including Puma.
Recent years have seen a big expansion of German retailers into other European countries and beyond.
In the food segment, deep discounters Aldi and Lidl are familiar sights outside German borders, with Aldi announcing plans to expand in Britain earlier this month even as the country heads for the exit door from the European Union.
In France, Lidl boasts a 5.3-percent market share while Aldi holds 2.2 percent, according to market research firm Kantar.
Both firms are also pressing ahead with plans to expand in the United States, with Aldi aiming to open some 2,500 stores there by 2022.
© 2017 AFP
German retail group Metro takes stake in France's Fnac Darty German retail group Metro takes stake in France's Fnac Darty Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 02:20:00 Rating: 5