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International DIY News

Kingfisher takeover of Mr Bricolage in doubt

Mr Bricolage night

Kingfisher's 275 million euro ($302 million) takeover of France's Mr Bricolage has been thrown into doubt, after the British DIY firm said the majority of the board and the largest shareholder of the target company had reservations.

Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home improvement retailer, said last April it had agreed a deal to buy Mr Bricolage to beef-up its position in France, its most profitable market, where it already trades as Castorama and Brico Depot.

However, it said on Tuesday it had yet to receive clarification of the positions of the majority of the Mr Bricolage board and of the Association Nationale des Promoteurs de Faites Le Vous-Mene (ANPF), a franchisees group that owns 41.9 percent of the French firm's equity.

"Kingfisher has been made aware that both the majority of the Board of Mr Bricolage and the ANPF, a major shareholder of Mr Bricolage, have reservations in relation to the transaction," it said in a statement.

Shares in Kingfisher were down 1.3 percent at 368 pence at 1055 GMT.

"The implications for the transaction are currently uncertain. Kingfisher will update investors in due course," the company said.

Shares in Mr Bricolage were suspended in Paris on Monday at the request of the company pending a statement.

Kingfisher said the founding Tabur family of Mr Bricolage, which owns 26.2 percent of its equity and is a signatory to the agreement, remained committed to the deal.

Last April, Kingfisher struck a deal with the ANPF and the Tabur family to buy their holdings for 15 euros a share. The agreement was binding, subject only to regulatory clearance.

Subsequently Kingfisher was to make a mandatory offer to buy Mr Bricolage shares held by minority shareholders.

The deal with the major shareholders was submitted to anti-trust authorities on Jan. 26.

Mr Bricolage declined to comment.

The situation is a headache for Kingfisher's new chief executive Veronique Laury, who succeeded Ian Cheshire on Dec. 8 and is scheduled to present 2014-15 results on March 31.

Source : James Davey and Neil Maidment - Reuters

24 March 2015

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