Steinhoff raises Darty stake to 20.4%

Johannesburg – Steinhoff has increased its stake in Darty to 20.4 percent, it said on Friday, a day after a frantic bidding war with French rival Fnac for Europe’s third-largest electric goods retailer.

Five new offers in less than 24 hours lifted Darty shares by more than 23 percent on Thursday to their highest since the end of 2010 and left South African furniture retailer Steinhoff in front with a cash offer of 160 pence a share, valuing Darty at 860 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

Steinhoff, a 20-billion-euro ($22.6 billion) company listed in both Johannesburg and Frankfurt, said it had acquired an additional 4.8 million shares in London-listed Darty at 160 pence each.

Shares in Darty were trading at 162 pence at 09h06 GMT, off an earlier high of 165.50 pence but still suggesting that some investors expect a little more to come.

Darty is attracting the suitors for different reasons, among which are Fnac’s desire to reduce its reliance on sales in areas such as books and CDs.

For Steinhoff, the deal would help it bulk up in Europe, where already makes more than two thirds of its 9.8 billion euros ($11 billion) of annual sales, as its domestic market deteriorates.

Steinhoff’s European brands include Conforama in France, Bensons for Beds and Harvey’s in Britain, as well as Abra in Poland.

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