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Family business roundup: Changes at Douglas, Bertelsmann and PPR

The long-running sales saga at German retailer Douglas finally appears to be coming to an end, with Advent International teaming with the Kreke family to buy out shareholders. Meanwhile two other family-controlled businesses are weighing up their shareholdings in subsidiaries.

The long-running sales saga at German retailer Douglas finally appears to be coming to an end, with Advent International teaming with the Kreke family to buy out shareholders. Meanwhile two other family-controlled businesses are weighing up their shareholdings in subsidiaries.

American buyout firm Advent offered €1.5 billion to buy Douglas Holding after almost a year of talks and months of speculation. The bid was worth about €38 a share.

Under the proposed sale, the Kreke family, which founded the business, will retain its management role at Douglas.

“The Kreke family stands for retail expertise throughout generations. As a strong, longer-term investor, Advent International stands for a constructive cooperation with the management and further international expansion,” said a statement from the private equity company.

Advent has already secured about half of Douglas’s stock, with three major shareholders committing to the deal. Under the plans, the Kreke family will hold about 20% of Douglas’s shares indirectly, with Advent holding the remainder.

Fellow German family business Bertelsmann could soon be set to increase its holding in broadcaster RTL Group. Speculation is rife that media firm Bertelsmann, controlled by the Mohn family, will take full control of the broadcaster following a change to Luxembourg’s takeover laws. “We are keeping all options open regarding our stake in RTL,” a spokesman for the company told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, PPR has decided to list electronics retailer Fnac. Family member Francois-Henri Pinault, who is chairman and chief executive of PPR, said the move would allow the luxury goods group “to pursue its transformation and to fully focus on the development of its apparel and accessories brands”. 

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