PARIS — Kering said it has closed the sale of La Redoute and Relais Colis to two of its senior managers.
In early December 2013, after protracted and politically sensitive talks to offload the struggling catalog retailer and delivery network, Kering announced it had entered exclusive negotiations with Nathalie Balla, chairman and chief executive officer of La Redoute, and Eric Courteille, chief administrative officer of Redcats.
They were the latest bidders to have emerged in the process, which practically completes Kering’s transition out of retail into fashion and accessories in the luxury and sport-lifestyle segments.
The company said the deal’s closure was “in accordance with the conditions specified in the sales agreement. Kering wishes to underline that it fulfilled all the commitments made within the framework of the disposal process.”
Kering paid a symbolic euro, or $1.36 at current exchange, for the transaction. It recapitalized La Redoute and Relais Colis before handing them over to their new owners.
Balla and Courteille, co-presidents of the new company comprised of La Redoute and Relais Colis, own 51 percent of new entity, according to a La Redoute statement. The employees hold the remaining 49 percent.
La Redoute said the firm should get out of the red by 2017.
The sale of La Redoute, which is expected to be accompanied by significant job losses, has unleashed a maelstrom of criticism in France, beset by high unemployment and moribund economic growth. Unions have demonstrated against the sale, while senior members of the country’s government have entered into the debate.