The joint venture offers numerous opportunities, including more efficient processes, a broader product as-sortment, innovative retail formats, and well-performing online platforms.
“MERGER OF EQUALS”
SIGNA and HBC will form a new retail company, which will include Galeria Kaufhof GmbH, Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, the entire retail business of HBC Europe (Saks OFF 5TH, Galeria Inno in Belgium, Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands), as well as Karstadt Sports and the entire food and catering departments of both companies (Dinea, Galeria Gourmet, Karstadt Feinkost, Le Buffet). It will thereby have 243 established city-center locations in Europe and employ a total of 32,000 staff.
SIGNA Retail will hold 50.01 percent of the shares of the holding company and HBC 49.99 percent. The newly formed retail company will be led by Dr. Stephan Fanderl, current CEO of Karstadt & SIGNA Retail, and include representatives from Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt.
In addition, the joint venture will bring together the e-commerce businesses Galeria-kaufhof.de, saks-off-5th.de, inno.be, hudsonsbay.nl, dinea.de, karstadt.de, karstadt-restaurant.de, karstadt-reisen.de, hood.de, kisura.de and karstadtsports.de. This combined online presence provides a strong platform for further growth in E-commerce.
With the partnership, SIGNA Prime Selection AG will acquire a 50 percent equity interest in HBC’s European real estate holdings. These assets will include 39 properties owned by HBC’s existing Joint Venture in Europe and 18 additional properties held at Galeria Kaufhof. HBC will continue to hold 50 percent of the real estate assets, which has appreciated over its three-year ownership. The Kaufhof location in Cologne and the Carsch-Haus in Duesseldorf will be subsequently acquired by SIGNA Prime Selection AG and the proceeds will be invested in the combined retail entity and repay debt.
HBC and SIGNA Group have come to an agreement with the corresponding contracts already signed. The closing of the transaction is subject to approval from the antitrust authorities.
Helena Foulkes, CEO of HBC: “We are very pleased to partner with SIGNA and are confident in our direction for the future. This partnership is a smart, strategically sound opportunity to equip both companies with the capabilities to strengthen operations and overcome the challenges in the German retail market. We believe it is the best structure for customers, HBC, our associates/employees and the city-centers where we operate. Together, we will focus on seizing opportunities in the market, evolving the business model, and adapting it to meet changing consumer needs.”
Dr. Stephan Fanderl, CEO of Karstadt Warenhaus und Managing Director of SIGNA Retail: “We are looking forward to partnering with HBC. With this joint venture, two iconic companies have found an ideal solution to position themselves for success in the highly competitive German and European retail market. We are now entering a phase of hard work, major operational challenges and demanding market changes. Together, we can make better use of the opportunities of digitization and the strengths of inner-city retailing than ever before. In the future, our joint department stores will be accessible in the immediate vicinity to 80 percent of urban customers and reach out to more than 20 million customers in our loyalty programs.”