Everyone was happy after Coop’s purchase of ICA Norway.
Even REMA 1000-CEO Ole Robert Reitan.
But, according to Norwegian media, he tried to make Bunnpris buy ICA through international investors.
ICA is considered to have received a good price for its Norwegian operations – with future property sales the final revenue is estimated at five billion NOK. The billion profit in the first stage made the ICA Group’s shares rise 9.2 percent on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
But also Coop is considered to have completed its once in a lifetime deal as they took the chance to buy ten percent of the market and smooth out the market conditions in Norway.
But in the puzzle that Norwegian media has added after the deal, Reitan Group’s role was important.
When the sales round started in early summer Reitan Group pursuaded Bunnpris, today with four per cent of the market in Norway, to try to buy. Reitan family did not think the competition authority would accept them as a buyer – but hardly have any objection to Bunnpris, which has Reitan wholesale. This way Reitan purchasing muscles would become much stronger.
During Monday’s press conference, ICA’s CEO Per Strömberg said that interest from foreign chains was non-existing, but that there were foreign investors who have shown a strong interest.
According to Dagens Næringsliv, Bunnpris got far in the process having an agreement with an international investment fund and was ready to make an offer.
Then Rema and Reitan decided to try to buy ICA themselves and forced Bunnpris to withdraw. According to Norwegian media Odd Reitan finally stopped his son Ole Robert Reitan from placing the highest bid.
Instead, 7 pm, Sunday night, Svein Fanebust signed the purchase contract with ICA.
“In the end there were two competitors”, says Svein Fanebust according to Dagens Næringsliv.
Then he confirmed that Coop had been in the buying process since May, when ICA probed interest.
“It was pretty clear already then that the sale was ICA’s first choice,” he says.