April 10, 2019 / 6:15 AM / 8 days ago

Metro in talks to sell hypermarkets unit to Markant -Handelsblatt

BERLIN, April 10 (Reuters) - Germany’s Metro is in talks to sell its Real unit to peer Markant in a deal that would see the properties of the hypermarkets chain go to a different investor, German daily Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday.

Markant would pay 99 million euros ($111 million) for the business, but Metro would inject 300 million euros of fresh equity into Real ahead of a deal, meaning Metro would effectively pay Markant 201 million euros to take on Real, the paper said.

Separately, talks with two investors on the business including the properties were ongoing, the paper said.

Metro shares were down 3 percent in pre-market trading.

Metro was not immediately available for comment, but was quoted saying by the paper that talks were entering the final stretch, declining to elaborate.

Last month, Metro Chief Executive Olaf Koch said the company was in talks with about five parties interested in the chain, which has annual sales of more than 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion).

Daily Boersen-Zeitung reported separately that a consortium comprising investors ECE, Morgan Stanley and Redos had dropped out of the auction for the properties, while retail property investor X+Bricks remained interested.

Real runs 279 hypermarkets, of which 65 are owned by the group itself. One person close to the situation previously told Reuters that the properties could be worth up to 900 million euros, to be balanced against the expected negative value of the operating company.

$1 = 0.8881 euros Reporting by Thomas Seythal Editing by David Holmes

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