Oct 14, 2012
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Advent strikes deal to control Douglas: report

Oct 14, 2012

FRANKFURT - Private equity investor Advent has struck a deal with the biggest shareholders of German retailer Douglas (DOHG.DE) to buy a controlling stake as it seeks to take over the whole company, a German magazine reported.

Douglas' supervisory board will discuss the plan on Monday, Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

Advent and one of Douglas's current owners want to buy the retailer, listed on the German stock market, and take it private. Talks between financial investors and Douglas' largest shareholders have been taking place since the beginning of the year.

According to the magazine report, Advent and 13-percent stakeholder Kreke will buy 37 percent of Douglas from other co-owners Mueller and Oetker. That will take their holding above the 30 percent level that triggers a bid for the whole company under takeover rules.

About two-fifths of Douglas's shares are owned by stock market investors, with a bank owing the rest.

Advent and Kreke declined to comment, while Douglas and the other owners were not immediately available for comment.

Two sources familiar with the transaction told Reuters that talks are very advanced, declining to specify further.

Douglas recently confirmed that it is in talks with a financial investor but cautioned that it was uncertain whether a transaction would actually go ahead.

Sources had earlier told Reuters that Advent was nearing a deal to get a majority stake in the retailer, which runs perfume, clothing, books and confectionary stores.

(Reporting by Alexander Huebner, Philipp Halstrick and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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