German group Metro to sell Marko UK to Booker Group

31 May 2012 (Last Updated May 31st, 2012 02:00)

Germany-based retail major Metro Group has agreed to sell Makro UK to British food wholesaler Booker Group, resulting in the formation of a strategic partnership between two companies in the UK.

Metro Group

Germany-based retail major Metro Group has agreed to sell Makro UK to British food wholesaler Booker Group, resulting in the formation of a strategic partnership between two companies in the UK.

Booker will acquire all 30 UK stores and all operational assets of Makro UK, Metro's cash & carry division, in a deal valued at £139.7m.

As per the deal, German group Metro will receive 9.99% of Booker's current issued share capital plus £15.8m in cash.

In addition, Metro plans to hold this stake beyond the lock-up period of one year, becoming a significant Booker shareholder with the aim of fostering a strategic partnership built on competence sharing to mutual benefit.

Booker CEO Charles Wilson, commenting on the deal said, "We see a perfect fit between both businesses as Booker focuses on caterers and independent retailers, while Makro, with its self-service wholesale, focuses on hotels and restaurants as well as small service companies."

The Wellingborough-based group intends to keep the Makro brand for the time being, in addition to developing a growth strategy for the self-service wholesaler.

"We look forward to working with the people at Makro to jointly improve our services and offerings to retailers, caterers and small- and medium-sized businesses in the UK," Wilson said.

The two firms plan to evaluate and explore other areas of co-operation such as assortments, buying, supply chain management, marketing, own brands and customer services within applicable laws.

In the financial year ended 30 March 2012, Booker Group reported sales of £3.9bn and had 172 wholesale stores in the UK, with average store size of 3,300m². Makro had sales of £766m in 2011, with 30 stores and employed 3,000 people.

The transaction, which is subject to approval by Booker shareholders, is likely to be completed by the end of July 2012.

Image: Wellingborough-based Booker Group to acquire all 30 stores of Makro UK, a cash and carry division of Metro Group. Photo: Metro AG