Prague, Czech Republic – Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak business partner Patrik Tkac boosted their stake in Metro to become the German food wholesaler’s biggest shareholders.
According to a press release from November 3, EP Global Commerce Group (EPGC), the Prague-based investment vehicle owned by the Czech and Slovak tycoons, have exercised a call option to increase their share to 29.99% in German retailer Metro, by acquiring 7.3% of the shares of another shareholder, Haniel.
It’s still unsure whether EP Global Commerce has any intention to use its option to acquire further shares from Haniel. According to German corporate rules, they would be obliged to make a bid for the whole of Metro once they exceed the 30% threshold.
“We are very excited to become a strategic shareholder of Metro AG”, said Daniel Kretinsky. “Metro is a strong brand and established player that operates in a very dynamic market environment. We believe in the company’s potential and we now focus on whether we can have a positive impact on the company and are able to support its future development in the right way”.
The detailed price of the transaction hasn’t been revealed.
The announcement comes a few months after Kretinsky and Tkac made an unsuccessful public takeover offer for nearly €6 billion, that was turned down by Metro’s board.
It’s also the latest in a series of wide-ranging acquisitions made by Kretinsky, the Czech Republic’s fifth richest man. “Having initially focused on acquiring unloved energy assets in countries across Europe, the Czech billionaire has since broadened his scope to include the retail and media sectors”, writes the Financial Times.
These purchases include a controversial stake in one of France’s leading newspapers, Le Monde, as well as shares in German broadcaster ProSieben. Furthermore, Kretinsky also bought a minority stake in the capital of major French retailer Casino last September, and owns a vast media conglomerate in his native Czech Republic that has raised a few eyebrows among analysts who worry about the growing concentration of domestic media in the hands of a few tycoons.