(Adds Baumax statement, details)
VIENNA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - German home-improvement chain Obi plans to take over most of the sites of its struggling Austrian rival BauMax, Austria’s competition authority, BWB, said on Tuesday, adding Obi would take on the affected staff.
BauMax, which like other home-improvement chains in Europe has suffered from weak housing markets, is implementing a restructuring plan agreed with its creditor banks.
“Obi... plans to take full control over two-thirds of the total of 105 home-improvement locations of BauMax through the completion of long-term leases,” BWB said in a statement, saying the deal was pending regulatory approval.
Obi and BauMax were not immediately available for further comment.
BauMax said on its Facebook page that a strategic investor would take over the majority of its outlets, adding 16 Austrian branches would be closed and the rest would be run under a new name.
BauMax’s core countries are Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also operates in Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.
A source close to the matter had told Reuters in December that Italian investment bank Mediobanca had been mandated for a sale of BauMax.
Reporting By Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich and Patricia Uhlig in Frankfurt, writing by Shadia Nasralla, editing by Francois Murphy