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B&Q owner in talks on £227 million deal for French company

B&Q owner Kingfisher has revealed it is in talks over a 275 million euro (£227 million) deal to buy French rival Mr Bricolage.

The purchase would strengthen the FTSE 100 group's hold on the DIY market in France, where it already owns Castorama and Brico Depot.

Kingfisher chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire said it represented an "attractive growth opportunity" and it was welcomed in the City - despite fears it might be held up by the need for clearance under competition rules. Shares rose 3%.

The move is seen as a chance for the group to add Mr Bricolage's high street presence to the predominantly "out of town" portfolio of the other two businesses.

Kingfisher is proposing initially to acquire 68.1% of the firm's share capital - from the majority shareholders - at a price of 15 euros (£12.45) per share. There would then be a subsequent offer to buy shares from minority investors at the same price.

The group said the purchase of the main stakes in the company would be conditional upon anti-trust clearance and the whole process was likely to take until the end of the company's financial year, which runs until the beginning of February 2015.

Sir Ian said: "This would add a third, complementary strong business alongside Kingfisher's existing two successful brands in France."

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Freddie George said: "Mr Bricolage looks a compelling acquisition for Kingfisher and will strengthen its number one position in the French DIY market.

"Mr Bricolage has a strong high street presence while the Castorama and Brico Depot stores are predominantly 'out of town'.

"However, in view of the size of the acquisition, we believe the company will have difficulties in getting anti-trust clearance, a process that is likely to take at least a year to conclude."

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