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Karstadt’s creditors have the choice

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Bei Karstadt beginnt jetzt das angestrengte Warten. Quelle: dpa

Karstadt now a more strenuous waiting. Source: AP

HB FOOD. Fear for Karstadt: During three investors on Friday behind closed doors to advertise food to the bid for the insolvent trading giant, is pursuing the struggle in Karstadt – Central from the 25 000 employees of the department stores with high voltage. "Throughout the house run the TV," says the Frankfurter Karstadt Works Rainer Hopf. News from the company headquarters in Essen are booming. "So speaks a little fast-rum", "Hopf said.

Too many customers is not indifferent to the fate of Karstadt, reported an operating Düsseldorf Councillor who wishes to remain anonymous. Time and again, the sellers in the Karstadt department store primarily of regular customers were asked for news.

But one tangible result of the negotiations emerged first not. A result in the ongoing war of nerves for almost a year was on Friday not sure, if the creditors’ committee responsible for the decision still sees a need for clarification, can the vote be postponed.

With the bankruptcy of many years struggling department store chain Karstadt had the final sprint in the drama of the traditional company on 9 June last year started.

Together with Karstadt had almost exactly a year also the parent company Arcandor and ArcandorMail-order subsidiary source filing for bankruptcy. While the management of the parent company with the strange name of art has been relatively silent set in motion, all efforts failed to rescue the traditional mail order. Thousands of workers lost their jobs.

For the rescue of Karstadt chances are much better now, however: When an investor signs the sales contract is an important condition for entry into force of the insolvency met. Another significant factor is the absence of a large part of 94 municipalities nationwide with Karstadt sites of possible business tax claims of up to 140 million euros.

Although four municipalities have issued a rejection of the waiver, there was the spokesman for the liquidator, Thomas Schulz, on Friday confident that the necessary approval rate could be 98 percent of the claims for initial resistance in some communities now within reach. Also eleven other municipalities, which had its approval subject to conditions, had already signaled a back down.

To rethink many local authorities would also look into the future of their own inner cities have contributed. With the death of the stores there could be a degradation of the centers, there was always told. Now was the fate of the department store chain suddenly in the hands of local politicians.

If all goes well, could the insolvency proceedings are terminated in late June. But even then, would remain for many Karstadt – the future employees may be uncertain. The three Karstadt – Prospective High Street, Triton and Berggruen have been very different approaches on the table. Demand concessions from employees, according to industry sources, above all the interested parties and Triton High Street, while investors will Berggruen without it. Until the final restoration of Karstadt in any case, there is still a long way.

Almost simultaneously with the Karstadt department store chain Kaufhof, the competitor could also get a new owner. The retail group Metro has already, to look more interested in the books of the subsidiary Kaufhof.

"The prospects are, with their insight into our data rooms essentially finished," said a MetroSpokesman on Friday of the German Press Agency. According to reports, are the potential investors for Kaufhof been asked to 7 June to signal how serious the interest is and how it looks with the acquisition financing. The date it was not a hard deadline to submit an offer.

Earlier, the "food magazine" reports that the potential investors for Kaufhof to 7 Submit bids in June and will end on that date, the bidder deadline. According to the newspaper, among other things, the financial investors Permira, Apollo and Black Stone in the race for the department store chain. The Goldsmith Group Clemens Vedder had to announce last Wednesday that they say goodbye from the bidding process.

MetroGroup chief Cordes had said in early May, a fair price for Galeria Kaufhof is currently lying in two to three billion euros. When it comes to sales, depends mainly on the financing options for potential investors from the capital markets. The biggest "treasure" of the Kaufhof are the homes, of which about half in Metro-Possession. Cordes had the Cologne subsidiary, which operates 140 stores in Germany and Belgium and employs 25 000 employees, already set in 2008 on the sales list.

According to industry observers, the prospects for the Kaufhof department store chain Karstadt insolvent in mind.

A year ago, when the situation worsened in Karstadt, has discussed a merger of Karstadt and Kaufhof department store in a German AG. The Metro but had then and only then signaled interest in a part of the 90 Karstadt department stores. The Executive Board of Karstadt’s mother Arcandor and later the administrator did not split but Karstadt.

If interested submit shortly to the Kaufhof offers, Cordes, according to the observer options in different directions: he could sell Kaufhof directly to an investor or with him or her along to a new owner Karstadt, Kaufhof still around – and Karstadt department stores, to bring an umbrella. The Karstadt bidders High Street, where Goldman Sachs is involved are in the commercial sector good contacts rumored to Cordes. High Street is also owner of most of the Karstadt department stores.