GPA sells control in appliance retailer Via Varejo to group led by shareholder Klein -sources

Brazilian retail veteran Michael Klein and his family are taking over control of appliance retailer Via Varejo SA, spending less than initially expected, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

By Tatiana Bautzer and Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, June 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian retail veteran Michael Klein and his family are taking over control of appliance retailer Via Varejo SA VVAR3.SA, spending less than initially expected, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

GPA SA PCAR4.SA sold its 36% stake in an auction on Friday in Sao Paulo stock exchange, to a group of funds and to investment vehicles owned by the Klein family.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said Klein acquired a stake worth less than the 500 million reais initially expected. As the family already owns 25.4% of Via Varejo, Klein will become its largest shareholder with a stake close to 30%, the sources added, asking for anonymity to disclose private terms within the group of investors.

The rest of the stake sold by GPA was acquired by an undisclosed group of mutual funds advised by XP Investments. GPA said in a securities filing its full stake was sold for 2.3 billion reais ($590 million), at 4.90 reais per share.

The sale ends a two-year struggle by GPA, controlled by France's Casino Guichard Perrachon SA CASP.PA, to sell the appliance retailer.

Shares rose to 4.97 reais at closing on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, higher than the price at auction but down 1.4% from Thursday's closing.

Klein is back at the control of the appliance retailer, in which he has been a relevant shareholder since selling the retail chain Casas Bahia, founded by his father in the 1950s, to GPA in 2009.

Klein intends to appoint Roberto Fulcherberger as Via Varejo's chief executive officer and Marcel Cecci as chief financial officer, the sources added.

($1 = 3.8961 reais)

(Additional reporting by Aluisio Alves Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Chris Reese)

((Gabriela.Mello@thomsonreuters.com; +55 11 5644 7553; Reuters Messaging: gabriela.mello.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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