German regulator approves Kaufhof-Karstadt merger


BERLIN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Germany's antitrust regulator on Friday approved the planned merger of department store chains Kaufhof and Karstadt, owned by Canada'sHudson's Bay Co (HBC) and Austria'sSigna Holding.

The deal will create a group with 243 department stores in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and annual sales of 5.4 billion euros ($6.13 billion).

What will become Europe's third biggest department store chain faces stiff competition from e-commerce players such as Amazon and online fashion retailer Zalando , something the regulator noted in its decision which weighs whether merged companies would dominate their market.

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters late on Thursday that the cartel office was poised to approve the deal.

Signa will hold a 50.1 percent stake in the combined company and take the strategic lead on the business' board.

($1 = 0.8816 euros)

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