German economics minister fights for supermarket merger

Germany’s deputy chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel does not want to accept a verdict by Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court which in July overruled the 56-year-old rival of German’s Chancellor AngelaMerkel. The case concerns the proposed rescue merger of lossmaking Kaiser’s Tengelmann, Germany’s seventh-largest supermarket chain by market leader Edeka.


Last year Germany’s Federal Cartel Office blocked the merger saying it would restrict competition in areas where both companies have a strong market position. Gabriel intervened in a rare case of ministerial approval and allowed the merger under the condition of keeping open Kaiser’s 450 stores for at least five years. Critics say that Gabriel ‘s main intention as a job safer is to sharpen his profile as leader of Germany's social democrats and as candidate to rival chancellor Merkel in next year’s election.


Unfortunately according to rivalry chains Rewe, Markant und Norma the process of his intervention did not match the normal procedure because Gabriel allegedly held “secret talks” during the approval procedures with the bosses of Edeka and Tengelmann. Gabriel  ”has given ground to concerns about bias on his part and of a lack of neutrality.” as the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court stated, overruling again Gabriel’s decision.


Gabriel has now started the next round in employing the attorneys Jordan & Hall to examine the correctness of the decision of the lower court by Germany’s Federal Supreme Court. It looks like whatever the outcome of the whole matter will be, Gabriel and his social democratic party cannot win the case.

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