B&Q owner drops French acquisition

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B&Q-owner Kingfisher has been forced to drop its plans to buy French rival Mr Bricolage for €275 million (£201m) following opposition from a major shareholder in the target firm.

Kingfisher agreed a deal to buy the chain in July last year, expanding its position in the French DIY market where it already owns Brico Depot and Castorama.

But doubts about the takeover surfaced last week when the UK group disclosed that reservations had been expressed by the board and ANPF, which owns 41.9 per cent of Mr Bricolage.

Kingfisher conceded that time had run out yesterday with a deadline for securing competition clearance for the takeover due to expire today.

That deadline could have been extended with the agreement of all parties. But Kingfisher pointed to a statement on Friday by ANPF, an organisation controlled by Mr Bricolage’s franchisees “which cites their decision to refuse any extension of the 31 March deadline”.

Kingfisher was today due to publish its first set of annual results under new boss Veronique Laury, who took over from Sir Ian Cheshire in September.