Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) has received approval from the Federal Cartel Office for the proposed merger of its European retail operations with German department store chain Karstadt Warenhaus .

The merger deal was announced through definitive agreements signed in September this year, under which, HBC will hold 49.99% interest in the combined entity.

The combined entity will become a well-capitalised retailer featuring Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt brands from the department store chain along with HBC and Signa banners.

In addition, HBC also received approval for the formation of a real estate joint venture with European retailer Signa Holding, the Austrian parent company of Karstadt.

In July, both companies signed a non-binding letter of intent with regards to the exploration of this potential JV.

“Under the agreement, Signa Prime Selection will acquire a 50% stake in HBC’s European real estate portfolio.”

Furthermore, the companies have received the consent of a real estate lending syndicate led by Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg for the formation of a strategic partnership related to the transaction.

Under the agreement, Signa Prime Selection will acquire a 50% stake in HBC’s European real estate portfolio.

The merger is subject to satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions and is expected close by the end of this month while the real estate transactions are expected to close in early 2019.

HBC operates luxury and premium department stores as well as off-price fashion shopping destinations. It has more than 480 stores and employs 65,000 associates globally.

The retailer owns a range of major brands such as Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks OFF 5TH, along with Home Outfitters.

Signa Retail Group currently operates five independent retail platforms such as Signa Premium, Signa Department Store Group, Signa Home & Lifestyle, Signa Food & Restaurants and Signa Sports United.