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Booker expands UK business with Makro acquisition

Booker Group, the UK food wholesale retailer, has acquired Makro UK, the wholesale UK business of German retailer Metro Group.

In return for selling Makro, Metro will acquire a 9.99 per cent stake in Booker, which at the closing price of 79.1p from 29 May 2012 amounts to £123.9 million, as well as an additional cash payment of £15.8 million.

A statement from Booker claimed, ‘Booker is seeking to become the UK's leading wholesaler to caterers, retailers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a wide range of food and non-food via the internet, delivery and cash and carry.’

The firm sees the purchase of Makro UK, which has 30 purpose-built sites serving over one million customers, most of whom are SMEs, as a significant step towards that goal.

Booker’s shares have reacted positively to the acquisition and the stock is currently trading up 8.41 per cent at 85.75p, the firm’s highest ever share price.

Chief executive of Booker, Charles Wilson, commented, ‘Through working together, Booker and Makro UK will improve choice, prices and service for retailers, caterers and SMEs throughout the UK.'

Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of Metro Group, added, ‘In Booker, we have found the right buyer for our challenging UK business, which has shown an unsatisfying performance.

‘We are convinced that this new set-up meets all requirements for future success in the UK, while allowing Metro Group to further concentrate on countries within our strategic focus.’

Source : Matthew Jeynes – What Investment

30 May 2012
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