Exclusive Edeka Wins Minister's OK to Buy Supermarket Rival Kaiser's

Edeka, Germany’s largest grocery chain operator, has won approval from the country’s economics ministry to buy rival supermarket group Kaiser’s Tengelmann, subject to certain conditions, the ministry announced Tuesday. German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel made the announcement in a statement Tuesday afternoon. Handelsblatt had reported the approval was pending on Tuesday morning. The government’s green light could bring an end to Edeka’s long-running battle with competition authorities to acquire its smaller rival. As a condition for his approval, Mr. Gabriel demanded that Edeka protect about 97 percent of the employees in Kaiser’s Tengelmann for at least five years. Mr. Gabriel’s approval runs against a decision from Germany’s anti-trust authority , which last April forbade Edeka from buying Kaiser’s Tengelmann, and has been sharply criticized by the country’s opposition Green party. Edeka is the supermarket industry market leader in Germany with a share of around 20 percent and sales of €51.85 billion in 2014. Kaiser’s is ranked as the country’s 13th-largest retailer with €2 billion, or $2.2 billion, in sales in 2014. Read more in Handelsblatt Global Edition.