Darty battle heats up as Fnac makes bid

st1 copy


PARIS / Reuters

French retailer Fnac said on Thursday it would offer 145 pence per share to buy Darty , Europe’s third-largest electronics retailer, trumping an offer from Conforama, part of South African retail conglomerate Steinhoff.
Fnac had originally proposed a takeover offer for Darty last year but Conforama emerged as a rival bidder in March, with an offer that topped the French company’s bid. Fnac said in a statement that its new offer valued Darty at 779 million pounds ($1.12 billion). Conforama on Wednesday had increased its offer to 138 pence, valuing Darty at approximately 742 million pounds.

Conforama declined
to comment
Darty is attractive to the bidders for different reasons. Fnac has a large chunk of its sales in areas such as books and CDs and needs to diversify.
Steinhoff is trying to get its capital out of a deteriorating South African home market into safer European assets, such as Darty’s strong presence in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Fnac said on Thursday that Darty shareholders could also choose to receive four new Fnac shares for 125 Darty shares held and that it expected benefits of at least 130 million euros from the deal.
Conforama on Wednesday said it had bought 103.2 million Darty shares – about a 19.5 percent stake – at 138 pence per share and raised its bid for the remaining shares to that level. In March, Conforama had offered 125 pence per share, valuing Darty at 673 million pounds in an all-cash deal to acquire Darty, beating a rival offer from Fnac. Darty earns 70 percent of its revenue in France but has 400 stores across Europe and competes with Media-Saturn, owned by Germany’s Metro, and with Britain’s Dixons. Conforama, like Darty and Fnac, has a strong presence in French high streets and retail parks.
Earlier this month Vivendi, led by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, said it would acquire 15 percent of Fnac via a 159 million euros reserved capital increase, which analysts had said gave the French retailer more financial power to expand.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend