Germany’s large department store companies Karstadt and Kaufhof join forces. The Austrian owner of Karstadt, Signa, and the Canadian owner of Kaufhof, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), have agreed on the merger. The new retail giant will hold 243 stores throughout Europe with 32,000 employees. The joint venture not only includes the German Kaufhof and Karstadt stores, but also the entire retail business of HBC Europe (Saks OFF 5TH, GALERIA Inno in Belgium, Hudson's Bay in the Netherlands) as well as Karstadt Sports and the food and catering departments of both companies (Dinea, Kaufhof Gourmet, Karstadt Feinkost, Le Buffet). In addition, the agreement includes a multi-billion international real estate transaction.
Seitz advises Signa as well as HBC on labour law as joint counsel. In 2014 Seitz successfully negotiated the restructuring of Karstadt with the works council and the union ver.di: as of 2017 Karstadt is, for the first time in years, in the black again. This spring Kaufhof mandated Seitz to negotiate a collective employment protection agreement for the financially struggling company with the union ver.di as well. Focus of the upcoming integration of the two department store chains will be - in particular - the possible consolidation of the two headquarters, the implementation of a new operative structure as well as the negotiations of collective bargaining agreements.
Counsel Signa and HBC
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