BERLIN – The final go-ahead for investor Nikolaus Berggruen’s takeover bid for the Karstadt Department stores has been delayed due to missing signatures on the agreement between Berggruen and the Highstreet consortium regarding reduced rents for the Karstadt stores.
Berggruen confirmed the agreement with Highstreet Thursday night, which was the last pre-condition before he, in turn, could put his signature on his sales contract for the insolvent department store chain. The midnight deadline could not be met, and Berggruen has been given until this afternoon to supply the signed Highstreet documents.
The District Court in Essen was scheduled to make a final ruling on the acceptance of the Karstadt insolvency plan today, pending Berggruen’s signed sales contract, but this may now be further delayed.
Some 25,000 Karstadt employees have been waiting on tenterhooks for months, but Maurizio Borletti, who made a late and highly publicized offer for the Karstadt stores, appears to think the Berggruen takeover is a done deal.
In a statement, he said he “respected the agreement between the Highstreet Consortium and its creditors for Berggruen Holding. We wish Karstadt and its employees all the best for the future and hope that the company returns to a path of growth in the long term. I am convinced that department stores have a good future in Germany and Europe.”