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German Cartel Office signs off on Karstadt takeover

Anti-cartel authorities in Germany have signed off on a takeover of Karstadt department stores. They said a change in ownership would not affect competition as the retailer was merely changing hands.

Germany's Federal Cartel Office gave the green light on Thursday for Austrian investor Rene Benko to acquire complete ownership of the struggling retailer Karstadt from German-American billionaire Nicolas Berggruen.

"In the end, one investor is just being replaced with another," said the office's president, Andreas Mundt. "The market positions of the individual Karstadt department stores will not change from a competition perspective."

The authorities had the final word on the sale of 88 Karstadt stores, which

Benko and Berggruen announced last week


Berggruen had been looking to

sell the loss-making retailer

for quite some time, he told the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview.

"At the end of the day, Karstadt wasn't a financial success for me," he said.

cjc/hg (dpa, AFP)

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