Difficult times for René Benko's department store empire

Aktualisiert: Mai 5

Before the Corona crisis, Austrian investor René Benko and his Signa Holding company had been taking over one department store chain after another. Now his projects are presenting him with great challenges as all stores are affected by the virus-related closures and thus by a sharp drop in sales. These are: Karstadt/Galeria Kaufhof, the Austrian furniture store chain Kika/Leiner and, Benko's latest acquisition, the Swiss Globus department stores, which were to go to Signa Holding and the Thai Central Group in equal shares as part of a joint venture.

According to the Austrian daily newspaper "Der Standard", almost all 4,200 employees at Kika/Leiner are on short-time work now – after Leiner recently announced major investments in furniture stores, marketing and e-commerce. As far as the Globus takeover is concerned, Signa and the Thai Central Group now want to renegotiate the deal agreed in February (over EUR 900 million), as the Swiss newspaper "NZZ am Sonntag" reports. However, it is questionable whether Globus-owner Migros will go along with this.

As the "Kurier" reports, Benko now intends to sell 17 of the Galeria-Karstadt-Kaufhof stores again – for EUR 700 million and probably to a fund managed by Apollo Global.

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