Printemps sale to Qataris cleared by French court

PARIS Thu Aug 8, 2013 11:31am EDT

A man walks with a shopping bag as he leaves the Printemps department store in Paris February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

A man walks with a shopping bag as he leaves the Printemps department store in Paris February 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris court on Thursday rejected demands by the works council at Printemps to suspend the sale process of the retail chain to Qatari investors for 1.75 billion euros ($2.33 billion).

Printemps unions had complained they were not sufficiently consulted and informed about the transaction or its terms, as the law requires, and had called for the deal to be halted.

But the court said it found no irregularities in the sale to Qatari investors of Borletti Group's 30 percent stake and the 70 percent owned by Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE) RREEF real estate investment unit.

"Management of Printemps can now dedicate all the energy necessary to implement its growth and development plan with the backing of its new investors, the company Divine Investments," the retailer said in a statement, referring to the firm that represents the Qataris.

Printemps employs more than 3,000 people, working at 16 department stores, and makes more than half of its 1.5 billion euros in annual sales at its flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris.

Borletti and RREFF bought Printemps in 2006 from French luxury group PPR, now called Kering (PRTP.PA), for 1.1 billion euros.

(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; editing by David Evans)

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