BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's antitrust regulator on Friday approved the planned merger of department store chains Kaufhof and Karstadt, owned by Canada's Hudson's Bay Co (HBC)
The deal will create a group with 243 department stores in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and annual sales of 5.4 billion euros ($6.13 billion).
What will become Europe's third biggest department store chain faces stiff competition from e-commerce players such as Amazon
"We found that Kaufhof and Karstadt have a market share of more than 25 percent in only a few categories of goods and regions... In addition, online retailers are an important alternative for a rapidly growing number of consumers in most categories of goods," Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said in a statement.
Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters late on Thursday that the cartel office was poised to approve the deal.
Signa will hold a 50.1 percent stake in the combined company and take the strategic lead on the business' board.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; writing by Tassilo Hummel; editing by Jason Neely, Maria Sheahan and Kirsten Donovan)