Billionaire Berggruen drops stake in German chain

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — German-American billionaire Nicolas Berggruen has given up his stake in Germany's Karstadt department store chain after failing to turn the ailing company around.

Berggruen had bought the 133-year-old company for a symbolic 1 euro ($1.34) in 2010 after the chain fell into insolvency.

Last year, Berggruen sold a majority stake in Karstadt's sports stores and premium sites, which include Berlin's storied KaDeWe, to Austrian investor Rene Benko for 300 million euros.

Benko's Signa Holding said in a statement Friday that it will take full ownership of Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH's 83 stores along with Berggruen's remaining stake in the sports and premium segment.

Signa said the takeover, which requires regulatory approval, won't entail any further payments to Berggruen.