UPDATE 1-Max Bahr to enter liquidation after sale talks fail

Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:10am EST

* Talks with peer Hellweg fail over demands from RBS

* Hellweg unwilling to grant RBS a full guarantee

* Max Bahr to be sold off piecemeal, 3,600 jobs at risk (Adds statement from administrator)

By Arno Schuetze and Alexander Hübner

FRANKFURT, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Insolvent German home improvement store chain Max Bahr is to enter liquidation after talks to sell the retailer to rival Hellweg failed, its administrator said on Friday.

Max Bahr's parent Praktiker is already being liquidated after the administrator failed to find a buyer for the whole group.

The Max Bahr negotiations were at an advanced stage but collapsed over demands from Royal Bank of Scotland, owner of 66 of the chain's 73 buildings, the administrator said. He added that 3,600 jobs are now at risk.

Hellweg had teamed up with former Max Bahr chief Dirk Moehrle to make an offer of more than 100 million euros ($134 million), sources told Reuters last month.

But Hellweg declined to grant RBS a guarantee that would have enabled the bank to hold it accountable if Max Bahr ran into financial trouble, the administrator said. No-one at Hellweg was available for comment.

RBS, which declined comment on the matter, is now looking to rent out the Max Bahr sites. OBI, Rewe/Toom and Hagebau have expressed interest in about half the sites, two people familiar with the situation said.

RBS also turned down a bid from German DIY group Globus, which had offered to buy 60 Max Bahr outlets, after RBS had already turned down an earlier offer from Globus to rent stores, albeit at lower prices, another source said.

Praktiker, whose blue and yellow branded stores selling paints, tools and gardening products are a familiar sight in Germany's out-of-town shopping centres and which employed around 20,000 full- and part-time staff, filed for insolvency in July after talks with creditors failed.

The creditors had hoped that a sale of Max Bahr could help them recover some of their losses, but those hopes died when Max Bahr also filed for insolvency.

The Praktiker stores have already started a clearance sale and the same will now shortly happen in Max Bahr stores.

($1 = 0.7430 euros) (Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes)

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