Slovenia's biggest retailer, Mercator, has acquired a 55.7% stake in one of its smaller rivals, Zivila.

Mercator is reported to have offered SIT18,000 per share for the stake, in a deal worth SIT3.2bn (US$15.6m) in total. Mercator said it had informed the Securities Market Agency, the Competition Protection Office and Zivila's management about the deal, reported STA.

The Ljubljana Stock Exchange halted trading in Mercator's shares when the deal came to light.

"The information on the acquirement of a controlling stake in Zivila can substantially affect the price of shares in Mercator and the public was not properly informed about it," the exchange was quoted by Reuters as saying. 

Mercator has a market share of just under 40%, while Zivila has a share of 4-5%.