Douglas owners eye breakup of company

FRANKFURT - The family of Douglas Holding AG Chief Executive Henning Kreke would break up the German retailer if it succeeds in taking the German retailer private, Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing financial sources.

The goal is "that Douglas will focus on the perfume business and other parts such as bookstore chain Thalia and jewellery chain Christ are sold," the daily newspaper cited the sources as saying in its Friday edition.

Douglas had no immediate comment.

Douglas, which has a market value of about 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion), said on Thursday that board members with major holdings were in talks with several financial investors for a substantial stake in the company.

Kreke told Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published separately on Friday that his family, which has a 12.6 percent stake in Douglas, had initiated talks because it sees the company's shares as undervalued.

"The Kreke family is convinced the company could be more successfully managed over a longer period of time if it was not subject to the short-term pressure of quarterly reporting," the newspaper cited him as saying.

He said his family had not discussed the matter with other major investors, such as the Oetker family with a stake of about 26 percent. He said the talks were not a defensive move against the threat of a takeover, for instance by fellow shareholder Erwin Mueller. ($1 = 0.7814 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Holmes)

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