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Kingfisher in talks to buy French DIY chain, Mr Bricolage

Kingfisher, Europe's No. 1 home improvement retailer, has launched a 275 million euros (227 million pounds) takeover bid for France's Mr Bricolage, moving to strengthen its position in its most profitable market.

The firm, which runs market leader B&Q in Britain and already trades as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said on Thursday it had entered into exclusive negotiations with the main investors of Mr Bricolage to buy their shareholdings.

It has proposed to acquire 41.9 percent of the share capital of Mr Bricolage from the Association Nationale des Promoteurs de Faites Le Vous-Mene (ANPF), a group of franchisees, and 26.2 percent from the Tabur family, at an agreed price of 15 euros per share.

Subsequently, it would make a mandatory offer to acquire the shares held by the minority shareholders at the same price.

At this level, and including net debt, the overall enterprise value of the deal would be around 275 million euros.

Kingfisher said the whole process was likely to take until the end of its 2014-15 financial year.

Under the deal, also conditional upon anti-trust clearance, Mr Bricolage's existing franchisee and affiliate network would be maintained and its members offered improved commercial terms.

Kingfisher entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Mr Bricolage's principal shareholders on Wednesday.

That marked the start of exclusive negotiations during which the operating businesses of Mr Bricolage and of Kingfisher in France will meet with their respective works councils and the improved commercial terms will be proposed to the franchisees of Mr Bricolage.

Depending on the outcome, a binding agreement would be entered into.

Shares in Kingfisher closed Wednesday at 431.2 pence. Trading in Mr Bricolage was halted on the Paris bourse and will resume on Friday.

Source : James Davey - Reuters

03 April 2014
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