FRANKFURT/VIENNA, July 13 Austrian investor Rene
Benko is not interested in taking control of German department
store chain Karstadt, Focus magazine reported on Sunday, citing
German daily Bild had reported on Friday that billionaire
Nicolas Berggruen could sell out to Benko and Israeli
businessman Beny Steinmetz. The paper said talks had begun with
Vienna-based Signa, Benko's property vehicle, which could buy
more than 70 percent of Karstadt for 1 euro ($1.36).
Berggruen rescued Karstadt from insolvency in 2010 but has
been criticised by unions and media for not investing enough in
Last week the chief executive of the loss-making Karstadt,
which competes with Metro-owned Kaufhof, stepped down
after only five months in the job, hinting at a lack of support
from the company's billionaire owner and raising questions over
the chain's future.
Focus magazine reported on Sunday that Benko, who already
owns 75.1 percent of Karstadt's separate premium and sports
divisions, was put off by bad result of the department store
A spokesman for Benko declined to comment.
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde in Frankfurt and Georgina Prodhan
in Vienna; Editing by David Goodman)