HBC, Signa sign German department store JV: Reuters

Hudson’s Bay Co has agreed to sell about half of its European business to Austria’s Signa Holding in a deal that will bring together two major German department store chains, according to media reports on Wednesday.

The agreement, described as a “proposed merger of equals for the European department store business” by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, was signed by both parties on July 3, the weekly reported.

Under the deal, a joint venture will be created consisting of Kaufhof, the German department store chain owned by Canada-based Hudson’s Bay, and Karstadt, which is owned by Signa, the magazine said.

Signa will hold slightly more than half of the entity and will manage the operating business, it added.

In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal said Hudson’s Bay would receive 1.1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) from Signa as part of the transaction. Signa, in turn, will assume 750 million in debt, the paper said.

Hudson’s Bay declined to comment. A spokesman for Signa was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Potter)