FRANKFURT, May 24 (Reuters) - Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay (HBC) will likely decide by early June whether to submit a bid to buy German department store chain Kaufhof from the Metro group, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Austrian investor Rene Benko, who owns rival department store chain Karstadt, has already offered to buy Kaufhof for 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion), a person familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month.
Metro confirmed on Wednesday that it was in talks for the sale of Kaufhof but said it had not reached any decisions yet.
Metro has long said it would be prepared to sell Kaufhof for a fair price as it focuses on developing its cash-and-carry and consumer electronics businesses.
There has long been speculation that Benko wants to merge Germany’s two major department store chains.
Sources had told Reuters last month that HBC, which operates Hudson’s Bay in Canada and U.S. luxury chains Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, was interested in Kaufhof as well.
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspapers said on Sunday that a takeover offer from HBC was expected within the next few weeks.
Metro declined to comment on Sunday. No one at Hudson’s Bay could immediately be reached for comment. ($1 = 0.9079 euros) (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Greg Mahlich)