May 14, 2019 / 12:42 AM / 10 days ago

Via Varejo's shareholder Michel Klein may bid for control: report

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Michel Klein, whose family is one of Via Varejo SA’s largest shareholders, with a 25.2% stake, plans to bid for the Brazilian appliance retailer in association with other investors, newspaper Valor Economico reported on Monday.

XP Investimentos SA would join Klein in the bid, Valor said, without saying how it got the information. XP funds have a 1.5% stake in the retailer, according to Refinitiv data.

In a statement, XP said it not working with Klein to acquire Via Varejo. XP, which manages and distributes mutual funds, has recently created an advisory area and said this division “is always analyzing business opportunities with clients, but so far there is nothing related to Via Varejo.”

A representative for Klein declined to comment.

Shares in Via Varejo closed up 2.6%, at 4.73 reais, whereas benchmark Bovespa index fell 2.7%.

Via Varejo, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) controlled by France’s Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, has been for sale since November 2016.

Via Varejo has struggled to post a profit in recent quarters as it attempts to adjust its expansive brick-and-mortar operations to the needs of Brazil´s growing e-commerce industry.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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