The cash and carry giant Booker has snapped up the ailing UK arm of rival Makro for £140m.
Makro's UK business – 30 struggling superstores, typically on industrial estates – will now become part of Booker's much larger empire.
Makro is widely seen as having lost its way, with its parent company, Germany's Metro, having other priorities. Its management had been given 18 months to effect a turnaround.
Olaf Koch, the chairman of Metro, said: "In Booker we have found the right buyer for our challenging UK business, which has shown an unsatisfying performance."
Booker is paying Metro £15.8m in cash and issuing £124m worth of shares at 79.1p, which will be given to the German giant, handing it a 9.9 per cent stake in the British group.
Booker's chief executive Charles Wilson said: "Through working together, Booker and Makro UK will improve choice, prices and service for retailers, caterers and SMEs. Booker has 173 branches which require membership to use (the goods are sold without VAT). Makro has more than 1 million customers in the UK.Reuse content