Agrokor "lowers offer" for Mercator

Agrokor "lowers offer" for Mercator

Croatia's Agrokor has reduced its offer price to acquire a majority stake in Slovenian retailer Mercator while also extending the deadline for the retailer to restructure its debt. 

Agrokor has offered to pay EUR86 (US$120) per share, down from a previous offer of EUR120 a share, Pivovarna Lasko, one of Mercator's shareholders, indicated. The offer values Mercator at EUR323.8m. 

Sovenian daily Finance reported that, under the new terms, Agrokor would also boost Mercator's capital by EUR225m, including EUR200m to repay its debt. Agrokor did not respond to requests for comment. 

Last June, Agrokor signed a deal to buy the 53.1% majority stake in Mercator held by a consortium of 12 local firms and banks.

A condition for the offer was the completion of a debt restructuring. Originally, Mercator's owners had agreed to finalise this process by the end of January. However, Agrokor has extended this deadline to 2 April. 

A spokesperson for Mercator told just-food the deadline for the transaction to close has also been extended. "The deadline for closing the bidding process has been prolonged until 30th June 2014." 

The move is the fifth time Agrokor has sought to buy its competitor Mercator, which has stores across the Balkans, including in Croatia. When the transaction completes, it will create one of the largest retail companies in Central and Eastern Europe, with annual revenue of around EUR7bn.