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Rene Benko Will Acquire Karstadt From Berggruen

Rene Benko, an Austrian real estate investor, is going to take over the German department store chain, Karstadt by the end of August. Benko has a option in which he will be able to acquire Karstadt from Nicolas Berggruen, a U.S. investor. Benko plans to exercise this option. The rights to the retail chain would be transferred to Benko once regulators approve the deal. Benko said he was called “to help by replacing Berggruen as the owner.” Back in 2010 Berggruen bought Karstadt before it fell into insolvency but has since been criticized by German unions and media outlets for not investing enough into the company, making way for rival retailer Kaufhof, to take up market share. A month ago Karstadt Chief Executive Eva Lotte Sjostedt resigned from her post after only five months, which was seen by many as a foreshadowing that Berggruen might sell Karstadt to Benko.