By  on August 18, 2009

BERLIN — Arcandor AG’s days are numbered. The bankrupt German department store, catalogue and travel group said Wednesday it will end its search for an anchor investor for the group on Saturday and instead focus on finding individual investors for its Karstadt department store and Primondo catalogue divisions.

Arcandor filed for insolvency, the German equivalent of Chapter 11, on June 9, and proceedings are due to open in September. Despite increasing speculation, Arcandor consistently has stated its intention to keep the group intact. On Wednesday, Arcandor acknowledged the chances of “attracting an anchor investor allowing the group to continue as a going concern are by now considered to be extremely low” given recent developments and a difficult market environment.

The competing Metro Group, which operates 126 Galeria Kaufhof department stores in Germany, reiterated its interest last week in taking over some 60 of the 91 Karstadt department stores.

However, talks between the two groups have been on ice since June and whether they are to be resumed is now in the hands of Merrill Lynch, which, according to media reports, has been brought in to evaluate takeover prospects for the Karstadt department stores.

News of the group’s imminent breakup sent Arcandor shares plunging 19.3 percent to 0.30 euros, or 42 cents, in trading late Wednesday.

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