COLOGNE/WUPPERTAL, Germany (28 January 2000)--According to the February issue of the German economic journal Manager Magazin, Jan von Haeften, chairman of the Haniel Group, 20% shareholder in Metro AG, is currently negotiating with Wal-Mart. Metro AG is the third largest retailer in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Carrefour-Promodes.
The Haniel Group, the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family and Metro founder Otto Beisheim each own 20% of Metro. Rumors about a possible takeover resulted in a huge 15% jump in the German retailer's shares on 20 January. The Manager Magazin article says that all three are prepared to sell their majority shares.
However, Erwin Conradi, chairman of Cologne-based and bicycle-selling Metro AG (with total sales of approximately DEM107 billion annually) was quoted in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the article is "totally nonsense. These rumors are totally wrong."
Wal-Mart did not want to comment.
Wal-Mart stepped onto the European retail scene by acquiring the German retail chains Wertkauf and Interspar and the British Asda Group.
Metro has been involved in many takeover rumors as of late. In addition to Wal-Mart, the British discount retail giant Kingfisher, the Dutch supermarket giant
Ahold and the world's second largest retailer Carrefour-Promodes all appear interested in acquiring Metro. As a result of these rumors, Metro's shares are reaching new highs. (JB)