Meridian, Beisheim Hike Metro Stake, Open To Buying More Shares
Investors Meridian Foundation and the Beisheim Group said on Tuesday they have increased their stake in German wholesaler Metro to about 23% and are open to further expanding their shareholding, saying they believe the firm is undervalued.
Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak partner Patrik Tkac failed in their 5.8 billion euro ($6.44 billion) bid to take over Metro last year after Meridian and Beisheim rejected the approach.
"The current stock price does not accurately reflect Metro's intrinsic value," Meridian and Beisheim said in a statement on Tuesday, adding they supported Metro's strategy to focus on becoming a pure wholesale business.
Metro has been selling off non-core assets in recent years to focus on its European cash-and-carry business supplying hotels, restaurants and independent traders, but it is battling sluggish growth in home market Germany and a decline in Russia.
Meridian and Beisheim pooled their voting rights in Metro last August in response to the takeover attempt and said back then they wanted to increase their stake from 20.56%. They said Meridian now holds about 15.87% and Beisheim about 7.19%.
"Based on previous experiences at annual general meetings, they have therefore reached a quorum and can expect a de facto blocking minority in the future," they said on Tuesday.
In October, Kretinsky and Tkac's joint investment vehicle EP Global Commerce (EPGC) said it had raised its stake in Metro to 29.99% from 17.52%, just below the threshold that would trigger a full takeover bid.
Kretinsky and Tkac said on Monday they had raised their stake in French retailer Casino to 5.64% from 4.63%.