German retailer Metro has sold its entire stake in Britain’s biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler Booker for £196m.
Metro, previously Booker’s biggest single shareholder, placed its 156.6 million shares with existing investors at a price of 125p per share, bookrunner JPMorgan Cazenove announced this morning.
Booker’s shares closed at 135.3p yesterday, but dropped by 6% to 127.2p in early trading today after the pricing for Metro’s placement was announced.
Metro’s stake in Booker stemmed from the May 2012 deal which saw Booker buy Metro’s Makro UK business in a cash and shares deal worth around £150m at the time.
The two businesses said they would continue their strategic partnership despite Metro’s share divestment.
“The acquisition of Metro UK has been a very successful part of our proven strategy to ‘broaden’ the Booker business,” said Booker CEO Charles Wilson.
“All of us at Booker thank Olaf Koch and his team at Metro for their support and co-operation over the last two years, and we look forward to further co-operation through the continuation of our strategic partnership.”
Metro will use the proceeds to “reinvest in other areas” and reduce debt. The sale is part of its drive to unlock value from its retail holdings, which included the sale of its Vietnam cash-and-carry business last month to a Thailand’s Berli Jucker for €655m (£397m).
Olaf Koch, CEO of Metro, said: “Our relationship with Charles Wilson and the team at Booker has created significant value over the last two years, in terms of both our shareholding and our strategic partnership.
“We are today selling our shareholding in Booker to realise the additional value created from this shareholding and to reduce further our level of debt. We look forward to working with Booker over the years to come as we continue with our strategic partnership.”