* Media-Saturn founder Kellerhals owns 22 pct blocking
* Court backs Metro board to ease decision making
* CEO hopeful for Media-Saturn repositioning
* Dispute had delayed online entry, now growing fast
DUESSELDORF, Germany, Dec 18 German retailer
Metro said it can push ahead with its strategy for
Europe's biggest electronics chain Media-Saturn after a court
ruling in a long-running dispute with the company's founder.
Media-Saturn's billionaire founder, Erich Kellerhals, owns a
blocking minority of close to 22 percent and has regularly
disagreed with Metro over its management of the chain, delaying
the group's move into the fast-growing online market.
Metro said a Munich court on Wednesday confirmed an earlier
ruling that upheld the right of a separate board set up by Metro
to approve measures such as budget and acquisitions by a simple
majority, allowing it to sidestep Kellerhals' veto.
"We now have legal and planning security and can continue to
forge ahead with the major strategic repositioning of
Media-Saturn," Chief Executive Olaf Koch said in a statement.
"We are confident that we can maintain the growth path of
Europe's fourth-biggest retailer also runs cash and carries,
hypermarkets and department stores, but is focusing investment
on cash and carry and consumer electronics stores, which have
better prospects given their size and international standing.
Disagreements with Kellerhals meant Media-Saturn was late to
set up websites, but sales there are now growing fast, helped by
its 2011 acquisition of online retailer Redcoon.
Media-Saturn, which competes with Dixons Retail and
Darty Plc, saw sales rise 0.6 percent in the first nine
months to 14.4 billion euros ($19.77 billion) or almost a third
of the Metro group total, while online sales jumped 75 percent.
Kellerhals pulled out of a Media-Saturn joint venture in
China last year, saying Metro should have expanded there more
quickly and aggressively. Metro later scrapped the venture in
China altogether, citing tough market competition.
($1 = 0.7283 euros)
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, Writing by Emma Thomasson;
Editing by Alison Williams)