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DSG International buys controlling stake in Fotovista

DSG International buys controlling stake in Fotovista

LONDON: Britain’s electrical retailer DSG International Plc. is buying a controlling 75 per cent stake in Fotovista Group, the firm that owns Pixmania, a major European online camera and consumer electronic goods retailer. DSG International is paying 184 million pounds in cash for the stake.

Fotovista is market leader for online consumer electronics in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, while it has presence in 25 European countries, including all those where DSG operates. It has some 250 stores in France alone and an online digital photo service. The deal will give DSG International an exposure to the markets in 12 new European countries, including Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

The acquisition is subject to approval by the European Union Competition Authority.

Fotovista, set up in 1970 by two brothers, — Pierre and Jean-Claude Rosenblum — had made an underlying profit before tax and interest of 7.6 million euros for the year ended March 2006 on sales of 450 million euros.

DSG International is buying the stake held by LMBO, a French venture capital firm, which now controls Fotovista, and from the Rosenblum family and a handful of managers. Under the deal agreed, the company has an option to buy out the balance 25 per cent over the next three to five years, though if Pixmania hits its financial targets the founders can hike their stake in the business.

The deal happens just days after DSG International has decided to move its Dixons brand online, rebranding its highstreet stores as Currys.digital.

DSG International’s chief executive John Clare said the stake acquisition represented a significant step in the company’s goal of becoming Europe’s leading electrical e-tailer.

The company said Fotovista’s current management team, including two sons of founder Jean-Claude Rosenblum, will continue with the firm.

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