• Germany's news in English

Court approves Karstadt deal, saving 25,000 jobs

AFP · 3 Sep 2010, 14:56

Published: 03 Sep 2010 14:56 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A court in Essen, western Germany that has been overseeing months of wrangling over the rent to be paid for 120 Karstadt stores, agreed that investor Nicolas Berggruen could snap up the iconic chain, saving it from bankruptcy.

The court said in a statement it had "approved the insolvency plan for Karstadt."

"This is just a beginning. We all need to work together," Berggruen told reporters, adding: "I am working for you and for the future of Karstadt."

The High Street consortium of property developers, Karstadt's main landlord, agreed Thursday to lower its rental for the stores, removing a difficult stumbling block to a deal.

The path is now clear for the 49-year-old Berggruen to acquire the chain. Son of famous art collector Heinz Berggruen, he was born in Paris but has dual German and US citizenship and studied in Britain and the United States.

He owns a string of assets from Turkey to Cambodia and his international lifestyle, hopping from country to country by helicopter and staying in luxury hotels, prompted the Wall Street Journal to dub him the "homeless billionaire."

Karstadt, a venerable German chain founded in 1881 and which includes the famous Berlin department store KaDeWe, has faced bankruptcy since 2009 after years of erratic management.

Story continues below…

It has also suffered from Germans' reluctance to spend, doubts over its future and the fact that people are deserting the department store model for shopping.

Found in almost every major German city, Karstadt is third in the list of European high street department store chains, behind Britain's Marks & Spencers and Spanish group El Corte Ingles.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:06 September 5, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'm pleased that 25,000 jobs have been saved by this acquisition. I'm also optimistic (perhaps prematurely) that Berggruen, having lived and studied in America, will introduce the concept of customer service to German retailers. Who knows -- such a radical concept might just catch on.
Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd