PARIS — French retail giant Carrefour SA said on Thursday that it is buying a 17 percent stake in online sales retailer Showroomprivé as it seeks to bulk up its expertise in the digital sphere.Carrefour is purchasing part of the business from South African furniture and clothing retailer Steinhoff for 13.50 euros per share, for a total of around 79 million euros.The purchase from beleaguered retailer Steinhoff, which has been caught up in an accounting scandal, is being made through its Conforama subsidiary.“This partnership is a new step in the acceleration of our digital strategy, in an omnichannel approach. It also allows Carrefour to enter the online private sales market and strengthen its offering,” Alexandre Bompard, chief executive officer of Carrefour, said in a statement.Thierry Petit and David Dayan, cofounders of Showroomprivé, said the deal allows the online retailer to continue building its omnichannel offering and opens “unprecedented opportunities.”The companies jointly said Carrefour will make an additional payment to Conforama should the French concern initiate a takeover bid for Showroomprivé within 18 months of the current deal’s completion. That payment would be equivalent to the difference between the offer price per share and the 13.50 euros acquisition price multiplied by the number of shares Conforama sells.Once the transaction announced on Thursday closes, Carrefour replaces Conforma in the shareholder agreement, which stipulates Showroomprivé founders keep 21.17 percent of the company capital and 40.42 percent of its voting rights. Carrefour is to own 16.86 percent of Showroomprivé’s capital and 13.67 percent of the company’s voting rights.Showroomprivé is Europe’s second-largest online private sales platform.
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