Booker Group has entered into an agreement with German wholesaler Metro Group AG to acquire Makro UK.
The proposed “strategic partnership agreement”, which includes the 30 Makro UK sites, will be paid for through the issue of new Booker shares and a cash consideration of £15.8m, valuing Makro UK at £139.7m. Under the terms of the agreement, Metro’s shareholding in Booker will represent 9.99% of its issued share capital.
The transaction is subject to a shareholder vote next month with Booker hoping to finalise the deal in early July. According to chief executive Charles Wilson, all branches of Booker and Makro will remain open for the foreseeable future with the Makro name continued to be used.
Wilson said the purchase would help “improve choice, prices and service for retailers”. “Together we will offer a wide range of foods and non-foods to our professional customers, via the internet, delivery and cash and carry,” he said. “The board is confident that this collaboration will enable us to continue to generate value for shareholders.”
Wilson assured customers that there won’t be any change in how they shop at Booker but hoped that the deal would help improve distribution for both parties and retailers. Booker also plans to help Makro improve its delivered and web offering.
“Depots close to each other will be able to complement each other when it comes to stock and ordering,” he said. “There are lessons to be learned from both sides regarding how the sites will be run.”
Wilson was particularly enthusiastic about the one million customers that Makro currently has and their expertise in the fresh and catering categories.
Metro Group chairman Olaf Koch said Booker was the right choice to turn around Makro’s “unsatisfactory performance” in the UK. The group has been in a steady decline with revenues falling and operating losses increasing over the past three years.
“Booker is very well positioned in the UK market, with a great brand perception and vast experience in managing product ranges and in customer services,” he said. “We are convinced that this new setup meets all requirements for future success in the UK, while allowing Metro Group to further concentrate on countries within our strategic focus.”