Steinhoff picks $975m Darty ahead of UK’s Home Retail – all cash deal

JOHANNESBURG, March 18 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Steinhoff on Friday offered $975 million for Darty Plc, Europe’s No.3 electrical goods retailer, trumping a competing takeover bid from a French retailer Fnac.

Steinhoff_Logo_Feb_2016In an all-cash deal, Steinhoff, through its French-based unit Conforama, offered 125 pence per share, valuing the company at 673 million pounds ($975.72 million) and a 54 percent premium to the price before any potential bidders emerged.

The Johannesburg-based furniture retailer and maker’s buyout offer is higher than Fnac’s cash and share offer that valued Darty at around 615 million pounds.

“Unless Fnac announces a higher and deliverable offer, the board currently intends to recommend the offer to Darty shareholders,” said Alan Parker, non-Executive Chairman of Darty.

The transaction would bulk up Steinhoff’s presence in Europe, where it already makes more than two-thirds of its 9.8 billion euros ($11.06 billion) of annual sales.

Darty earns 70 percent of its revenue in France but has 400 stores across Europe and competes with Media-Saturn, owned by Germany’s Metro, and with Britain’s Dixons. Conforama, like Darty and Fnac, has a strong presence in French high streets and retail parks.

Shares in Darty fell 0.3 percent to 130 pence while Steinhoff added more than 2 percent in Frankfurt as of 1622 GMT. The stock closed flat in Johannesburg, where it has a second listing.

Separately, Steinhoff said it did not intend to make an offer for Argos owner Home Retail, leaving the way clear for Sainsbury, Britain’s second biggest supermarket, to buy the firm.