It sounded like a pretty simple deal two years ago: Germany’s largest supermarket operator, Edeka, agreed to buy a loss-making and much smaller rival, Kaiser’s Tengelmann.
But it wasn’t to be. The deal has been held up in the air and become something of a political hot potato in Germany, after a federal anti-trust regulator and a court blocked the takeover – against the will of the country’s deputy chancellor.
Time is now running out for the around 450 Kaiser’s supermarket franchises. Their owner, Karl-Erivan Haub, has made plans to break up the group, close numerous locations and cut thousands of jobs, according to people familiar with the matter.