Kaufland wants to take over numerous branches of its competitor Real. The cartel’s watchdogs fear the plans could seriously disrupt regional competition.
Bonn (dpa) – The plans of the large discount chain Kaufland to take over up to 101 branches of the competitor Royal are met with concerns at the Federal Cartel Office.
After detailed analysis, the acquisition is expected to significantly impede regional competition at nine Real stores, the supervisory authority announced on Monday. Competition authorities also expressed concern about the retail giant’s growing purchasing power vis-à-vis food manufacturers and suppliers.
The Federal Cartel Office is in negotiations with Kaufland and the owner of Real SCP about possible solutions, it said in Bonn. Kaufland and SCP have already submitted initial proposals to the competition authority to allay the cartel office’s concerns. Therefore, the deadline for a final decision has been extended to December 30. In the opinion of the competition authority, the participation of midsize retailers in the sale of Real’s locations is of particular importance.
Kaufland is part of the Schwarz Group, which also includes the Lidl discount store. With a turnover of more than 113 billion euros, the Schwarz Group is already by far the largest food retailer in Europe.
The owner of the Russian Real, SCP, had acquired Metro’s ailing hypermarket chain to break it up and sell it. Despite concerns from the Cartel Office, SCP was optimistic that it would be able to complete the procedures as planned by the end of the year. “We celebrate the fact that the Federal Cartel Office sees no sales problems at 92 of the 101 locations registered by Kaufland,” said an SCP spokeswoman. Constructive talks with the Federal Cartel Office are already underway.
In addition to Kaufland, Germany’s largest grocery retailer, Edeka, is also interested in up to 72 actual locations. The Federal Cartel Office has until December 21 to review the acquisition plans.