Canada-based Hudson's Bay company (HBC) has agreed to acquire Metro's department store group, which includes 16 Sportarena stores, the Galeria Kaufhof chain and its Belgian subsidiary Inno, for €2.825 billion.

The transaction, including the assumption of certain liabilities, has been approved by the Board of Directors of HBC as well as the Supervisory Board of Metro AG. It is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2015.

As a result of the acquisition, HBC will have:

  • 464 locations worldwide, 8 leading banners
  • C$13 (€9.0) billion in revenue(1)
  • Pro forma sales by market: 44 percent US; 31 percent Germany 23 percent Canada, 2 percent Belgium
  • Strong management teams in North America and Europe

The transaction is a further extension of HBC's proven strategy of growing through mergers and acquisitions, with Galeria Kaufhof further diversifying HBC's portfolio and positioning the company as a premier international retailer.

Specifically, HBC is taking over 103 Galeria Kaufhof stores in Germany from Metro Group, including 59 properties in prime inner-city locations that are part of the Galeria Real Estate portfolio. As part of the transaction, HBC is also acquiring 16 Sportarena stores, 16 Galeria Inno department stores located in Belgium, as well as various logistics centres, warehouses and other properties, and the long-standing Galeria Kaufhof head office in Cologne.

Sportarena sells sporting apparel, equipment and accessories for soccer, running, fitness, outdoor and other sports.

“This is an exciting transaction that demonstrates our proven growth formula in action, and it is the right investment and the right time,” said Richard Baker, HBC's Governor and Executive Chairman. “We have been carefully surveying the European retail landscape for many years for a potential expansion opportunity and have watched Galeria Kaufhof build on its exceptional real estate to become the #1 department store in Germany. We are excited to work with the Galeria Kaufhof management team to leverage our expertise, and we welcome Galeria Kaufhof to our portfolio of dynamic brands.”

Olaf Koch, Chairman of Metro'S Management Board, said,   HBC is the ideal partner for a successful future of Galeria Kaufhof.

“HBC pursues a strategy of international growth and Galeria Kaufhof plays a central role in this expansion,” he said. “Beyond the attractive financial and transactional aspects, a key factor for us was the fact that HBC has made binding guarantees to take on the approximately 21,500 Galeria Kaufhof employees in Germany and Belgium. We also would like to thank all employees of Galeria Kaufhof and its management for their outstanding contribution to the business and their great work. Without their dedication, the company would not have achieved, and maintained, its No 1 position.”

With this transaction Metro Group will achieve a positive cash inflow of around €1.6 billion and significantly reduce its rating-relevant net debt by around €2.7 billion. Moreover Metro Group expects a positive EBIT effect of around €0.7 billion from the transaction.

As part of the Agreement, HBC will continue to operate Galeria Kaufhof, Inno and Sportarena under their current brand banners. No significant changes, beyond those already announced by Galeria Kaufhof, are currently anticipated with respect to the store footprints or staffing levels at any of the brand banners, and Galeria Kaufhof will remain headquartered in Cologne. When combined with HBC's current portfolio of iconic store banners, including Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH and Home Outfitters, HBC will operate 464 stores under 8 banners, with 44 percent of sales generated in the United States, 31 percent in Germany, 23 percent in Canada and 2 percent in Belgium.

Galeria Kaufhof's existing management team is expected to remain in place following the close of the transaction, and will work closely with HBC's leadership to explore opportunities to further strengthen Galeria Kaufhof's offerings to consumers. These are expected to include: expanding the Galeria Kaufhof brand matrix; aggressively growing Galeria Kaufhof's eCommerce; optimizing key merchandise categories; and pursuing the opportunity to introduce the Saks Fifth Avenue and the Saks OFF 5TH banners in Germany and Belgium, and the potential to build within the existing store network to improve productivity and optimize floor space.

Kaufhof Acquisition Strengthens HBC's Position as a Premier International Retailer
Jerry Storch, CEO of HBC, said, “This transaction is a significant step forward in our plans to become a premier global retailer. We look forward to working with Galeria Kaufhof's management team as we bring together two geographically complementary businesses, diversifying HBC's revenue base with leading banners in Canada, the United States, Germany and Belgium. This is a strong foundation to explore additional opportunities for growth throughout the Continent.”

Lovro Mandac, Chairman and CEO of Galeria Holding, said: “Galeria Kaufhof has worked in the past years to achieve a good position in the German retailing market through a continual willingness to change and a high customer orientation. That is thanks to the performance of the Associates and the leadership team. As a result, our company is now well-armed for the future with Hudson's Bay as our new owner. It is good and important for the company that there is now clarity about the ownership question. We thank Metro Group for their support in the past years and look forward to cooperating with Hudson's Bay on the future positioning of the company.”

Building on Galeria Kaufhof's Leadership Position in the German Retail Marketplace

Don Watros, President of HBC International, commented, “With Galeria Kaufhof, we gain a best-in-market, successful retailer with a network of very well-maintained stores, a beloved heritage and a brand that resonates strongly with German consumers. Based on our extensive experience in building outstanding department stores, we intend to leverage our expertise and proven strategies to further build Galeria Kaufhof for a strong, all-channel future. We are looking forward to working with the 21,500 highly skilled and motivated employees and in close cooperation with Galeria Kaufhof's works councils and unions.”

HBC is structuring the transaction and financing similar to previous transactions in Canada and the United States. BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as exclusive financial advisor to HBC on the transaction. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is acting as M&A legal counsel, and Stikeman Elliott LLP is acting as company legal counsel. Metro is being advised by JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank and Clifford Chance is serving as legal counsel.

Metro Group had decided to sell its department store subsidiary because the Düsseldorf-based group wishes to focus more strongly on its wholesale business Metro Cash & Carry, its consumer electronics division Media-Saturn and its hypermarket chain Real in the future. “Not only has HBC submitted the best offer in terms of a secure future for Galeria Kaufhof, it has also made a valuable bid for our shareholders,” said Olaf Koch. “We will also use the proceeds from the sale of Galeria Holding GmbH for greater investment in our other sales channels, thus ensuring the group's future growth. In this way, we are strengthening Metro Group for our customers and in the interests of all our employees and shareholders.”