Czech, Slovak investors make offer to raise stake in German wholesaler Metro

BERLIN (Reuters) - EP Global Commerce, an acquisition vehicle owned by Czech and Slovak investors, is launching a takeover offer for shares in German wholesaler Metro B4B.DE with the aim of raising its investment in the company above 30%, it said on Sunday.

EP Global Commerce, which already indirectly owns 29.99% percent of the ordinary shares and voting rights in Metro, said in a statement it expected to offer 8.48 euros per ordinary share and some 8.87 euros per preference share.

The offer is just above Friday’s closing prices.

“EP Global Commerce aims to increase its investment in Metro AG above 30% to give itself more flexibility in the future and without having to make a mandatory takeover offer,” it said in a statement.

“There will be no minimum acceptance threshold and EP Global Commerce does not expect to hold more than 50% of the voting rights following settlement of the takeover offer,” it added.

The firm, co-owned by Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak partner Patrik Tkac, said the offer “enables all shareholders of Metro AG to monetize their investment in Metro AG at the offered prices.”

“The ultimate shareholders of EP Global Commerce are long-term oriented investors who have the goal to support strengthening Metro’s position and operating performance,” EP Global Commerce said.

Banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Suisse advised EP Global Commerce, along with lawyers Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Peter Cooney