BERLIN — Woolworth Germany has changed ownership in a multiple transaction.
Late Wednesday, it became known that an unidentified affiliate of the British financial investment company Argyll Partners bought the German operations of Woolworth from Electra Partners, the majority shareholder of Deutsche Woolworth GmbH & Co. OHG.
Concurrently, an affiliate of the U.S. private equity company Cerberus Capital Management bought about 110 properties housing the German Woolworth stores from the Argyll affiliate, and immediately leased them back. According to a sparsely distributed press release from Woolworth: "The real estate transaction has helped Argyll to facilitate an appropriate financial structure for the turnaround of Woolworth."
Financial details of the deals are not available.
Woolworth Germany operates 330 doors in Germany and Austria. While sales figures have not been made public in some time, industry sources estimate that about 25 percent of the stores are unprofitable. In 2005, Deutsche Woolworth reportedly had a loss of 31 million euros, or approximately $44 million at current exchange rates.
Electra Partners, which is based in the U.K., acquired Deutsche Woolworth from the American parent company in 1998.
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