Friday, November 19, 2004

Sears/Kmart Acquires France

Newly merged Sears/Kmart has now acquired France:


The retail industry received another shake-up today as Sears Holding Corp. (NYSE: S), the parent company behind the recent merger of Sears and Kmart, announced the acquisition of embattled European cheesemaker France (NASDAQ: FROG). The buyout deal, estimated at $2.7 billion, will position Sears/Kmart/France as the world's third largest retailer and 15th ranked military power.

Reaction of Wall Street was mixed, with shares of Paris-based France rising 11% in late trading after the announcement, while Hoffman Estates, IL-based Sears Holdings dropped 19%.

"The acquisition of France indicates there will be further consolidation within the low-end, weird-smelling retail segment," said Ivan Kaplan, a retail analyst with Bear Stearns. "I wouldn't be surprised if Sears picks up another floundering discounter like Winn-Dixie. Or possibly Spain."

Gary Reed, an analyst with UBS, said the deal would position Sears/Kmart/France to remain competitive against mega-retailer Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).

"It only makes sense for them to united to face a common foe," said Reed. "Both Sears and Kmart have lost significant retail share to Wal-Mart, and France recently surrendered Provence after the invasion of paratroopers from the 131st Wal-Mart Greeter Airborne."

"Attention Kmart shoppers! The glory of France, she is born anew," crowed France CEO Jacques Chirac, who will continue as head of the corporation's Northeast regional merchandising division.


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