Austria's Signa takes full control of Germany's Karstadt

FRANKFURT – Austrian real estate group Signa, owned by businessman Rene Benko, announced it will take full control of the ailing German department store Karstadt from US-German investor Nicolas Berggruen.

"At the beginning of next week, Signa Retail will acquire the whole of Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH from Berggruen Holdings," the group said in a statement. "In addition, Berggruen Holdings will withdraw completely from Karstadt Premium and its luxury flagship stores KaDeWe in Berlin, Oberpollinger in Munich and Alsterhaus in Hamburg."

Similarly, Berggruen would offload his stake in Karstadt Sports, the statement said. Signa had already acquired 75.1-percent stakes in Karstadt Premium and Karstadt Sports in 2010 for 300 million euros ($400 million).

The Austrian group said it would not pay any additional purchase price for the outstanding 24.9-percent stakes or the 100-percent stake in the group's core department stores. The deal has to be approved by the relevant anti-trust authorities, Signa said.

Berggruen took over Karstadt in 2010 when the tourism and retail group Arcandor went bust.

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