Germany's Strauss stores get new owner, insolvency plan due in Q4

DUESSELDORF, Germany Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:12pm EDT

DUESSELDORF, Germany Aug 15 (Reuters) - Germany's Strauss Innovation, a chain of small department stores, on Friday said it had found a new owner after having sought court protection from creditors earlier this year to rescue its business.

A creditor committee approved a sale of the company to German investor Muehleck Family Office (MFO), which will provide capital for investment and further growth, Strauss said in a statement.

Muehleck will own 100 percent of Strauss and plans considerable investments to modernise the stores, said Jens Bender, an adviser and spokesman for MFO told Reuters. Bender, of advisory firm cf:M, declined to give financial details.

The committee's decision to sell Strauss should pave the way for an insolvency plan, including the amount creditors could expect to receive, to be agreed in the fourth quarter, a spokesman for Strauss said.

Strauss said its previous owner, U.S. private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, was satisfied with the deal.

German department stores and other retailers have been losing sales to rivals focusing on online business.

Retailers other than Strauss have also run into trouble, including home improvement chain Praktiker, which filed for insolvency last year and drugstore group Schlecker.

Earlier on Friday, Austrian property investor Rene Benko agreed to take over Karstadt, marking the second time in four years that the department store chain has changed hands for a symbolic sum of 1 euro ($1.3386).

Strauss Innovation, which was founded in 1902 in the western city of Duesseldorf, has 79 stores around Germany and employs 1,200 staff. (1 US dollar = 0.7470 euro) (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Jonathan Gould; writing by Jonathan Gould; editing by Shadia Nasralla)

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