Steinhoff International Holdings NV agreed to buy Darty Plc for £673 million ($975 million), snatching the European electronics retailer away from Groupe Fnac SA and handing Britain’s Home Retail Group Plc to J Sainsbury Plc.
Steinhoff’s Conforama unit will pay 125 pence in cash per Darty share, it said in a statement Friday. That trumps Fnac, which last year had an all-stock offer accepted that’s now worth 120 pence a share.
By dropping out of the running for Home Retail, the South African company leaves the way clear for Sainsbury, which already agreed to pay about £1.3 billion in cash and stock for the owner of Argos stores. Sainsbury has until 5 pm Friday to make a formal offer for Home Retail under UK takeover rules. Home Retail shares fell 10 per cent in London, while Darty rose 1 per cent to 132 pence. Fnac fell 0.8 per cent.
The purchase of Darty will accelerate a European acquisition spree by Steinhoff. The South African company, led by Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste and South African billionaire Christo Wiese, wants to challenge the likes of Sweden’s Ikea by expanding in Europe after moving its primary share listing to Frankfurt in December.
Steinhoff, founded in Germany by Bruno Steinhoff in 1964, also owns the Bensons for Beds chain in the UK The company, while run from South Africa, moved its corporate domicile from Johannesburg to Amsterdam. The company employs 90,000 people and has more than 6,500 stores in 30 countries from the UK to Australia.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.