Booker swoops to buy up beleaguered Makro

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Booker has acquired Makro Cash & Carrry – the UK operations of Metro Group.

The deal – a cash and shares purchase valued at around £140m – will see Metro take a 9.99% stake in Booker and the two companies form what they called a “strategic partnership agreement”.

There has long been speculation that Makro could quit the UK or be bought out by a rival, having recorded a loss for several years. Accounts released today show Makro haemorrhaged £63.2m in 2011 - a dramatic worsening of the £20m losses it suffered the previous year.

“Through working together, Booker and Makro UK will improve choice, prices and service for retailers, caterers and SMEs throughout the UK,” said Booker chief executive Charles Wilson.

“Together we will offer a wide range of foods and non-foods to our professional customers, via the internet, delivery and cash & carry. The board is confident that this collaboration will enable us to continue to generate value for shareholders.”

Metro chairman Olaf Koch added: “In Booker, we have found the right buyer for our challenging UK business, which has shown an unsatisfying performance.

“Booker is very well positioned in the UK market, with a great brand perception and vast experience in managing product ranges and in customer services. We are convinced this new set-up meets all requirements for future success in the UK, while allowing Metro to further concentrate on countries within our strategic focus.”

Readers' comments (42)

  • Thank god I managed to get out last year! I agree with some off the other comments on here, bad leadership by over paid over rated big heads at head office, bad leadership by lazy store managers and department managers..some store based managers and you know who you are are very lucky to be still in jobs as we used to question often the reason you were never pushed! Again its the ordinary workers on the shop floor/checkouts that you feel for as I can imagine the rumour mill is on overdrive and you will be told nothing just left to worry about your jobs...and can someone please tell me and others why why did they make all HR redundant and then replace them with totally in some cases useless people, again I feel sorry for what I see as the demise of Makro and all the lovely hard working front line staff (new word for shop floor) that are left RIP MAKRO

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  • I shouldnt worry Escapee, the useless people HR Advisors were replaced with will be the first to go if Bookers have any sense at all, they would only need to review the stats sice the changeover, it will be goodbye HR & Admin Managers & possibly most store managers too & I wouldnt like to work in Head office right now. If you got out last year consider yourself lucky.

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  • God help you
    Dbc foodservice again!
    You are going under
    Workers look after your rights
    I hope you are taken over

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  • This deal will further increase Booker’s size from 180 depots to over 200 depots and now they would occupy two-thirds of depot space in the industry. Shouldn’t the OFT be looking into this acquisition?

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  • i'm a retailer that visit my local Booker and Makro depot every week. There are other local options. Makro and Booker have always been competing and as a result of that, I get some great promotions, my business relies on those promotions to survive.

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  • In Poole we will only have Booker operated depots which would lead to a reduction in customer choice and be bad for the local consumer. i think there will be alot of price fixing between booker and makro. Shouldn’t the Office of Fair Trading be investigating Booker’s acquisition?

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  • I see there are alot of makro colleagues worried about their jobs, i would be too.. Charles wilson has a reputation of cutting costs to make the business succesful. Booker is making a profit because it has no assets left. It seems the bookers board of directors are in it for it themselves. i think makro will be open to the general public like costco..

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  • What really winds me up about Booker is that fact i even saw my neighbour there who doesn't even have a business. Booker supplies to the general public, There next step is to compete with Tesco by delivering from makro depots.

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  • Booker wants to compete with the multiples and this seems to be the entry into the market. they are no longer a wholesaler. You'll find tesco shoppers in booker all day long. booker has lost its ethos of being a wholesaler. As a successful retailer my premier fascia will be saved for the bonfire. as for makro, i think metro will end up buying booker in the longrun.

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  • As per charles wilsons statement, i don't think everyone in the board room was happy about this acquisition of makro. Its losing £60m a year, but i bet willies got something up his sleeve. I'm sure he'll turn Makro around by getting rid of a few staff and selling of the freehold to the sites....

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