German mail order and retail group Arcandor, owner of the loss-making Karstadt department store chain, has attracted five binding bids for its high street property portfolio, estimated to be worth between €4.5 billion and €5 billion (£3.11 billion and £3.45 billion).
The 100-store strong portfolio is jointly owned by Arcandor and Goldman Sachs subsidiary Whitehall, which has a 51 per cent stake in the venture.
Arcandor expects a decision to be made within six weeks. It has been reported that three of the bidders are also interested in taking a stake in the operating arm of the department store division.
The company declined to comment on reports in German newspapers that one of the bidders is a consortium comprised of Pirelli’s real estate division and Deutsche Bank.
Last year, the department store, mail order and travel group – called KarstadtQuelle until July this year – transferred its property portfolio to the joint venture for €3.7 billion (£2.56 billion).
Arcandor is Europe’s largest mail order and department stores business, with bricks-and-mortar operations including Karstadt, the KaDeWe department store in Berlin and Fox Markt, as well as KarstadtSport, a specialist retailer of sports equipment and clothing. Its mail order business includes Neckerman.de and Quelle.