(Adds analyst and Falabella comments)
SAO PAULO Nov 24 Shares in Brazil appliance
retailer Via Varejo SA soared on Thursday by the most since
March on reports that three suitors have expressed interest in a
controlling stake in the company.
SACI Falabella SA, Steinhoff International Holdings
Ltd and Lojas Americanas SA are among a
group of retailers interested in Via Varejo,
newspaper Valor Econômico reported.
Citing people with knowledge of the situation, Valor said
GPA SA, Via Varejo's controlling shareholder, had
received a list of potential interested parties from Banco
Santander Brasil SA, its adviser in the deal.
Late on Wednesday, GPA's board authorized management to
start proceedings to sell the 43.3-percent controlling stake it
has in Via Varejo.
Credit Suisse Securities said the news should not come as a
surprise, given that GPA had announced it was considering
alternatives for its Via Varejo stake in early November.
"However, we believe that the release of this additional
material fact indicates that between Nov. 3 and today the
company might have received some preliminary indications of
interest," analysts led by Tobias Stingelin wrote in a client
Via Varejo units, a blend of common and
preferred shares, rose as much as 13.2 percent to 9.35 reais,
extending gains to 182 percent so far this year.
Preferred shares in GPA rose 3 percent, their
third straight daily gain.
Santiago-based Falabella said it does not comment on rumors
"The company is focused on continuing to develop its
presence in Brazil by opening Sodimac stores and improving
Dicico as a specialist chain," a press representative said in an
emailed statement to Reuters.
Executives and representatives for Johannesburg-based
Steinhoff did not immediately comment. Rio de Janeiro-based
Lojas Americanas and Via Varejo declined to comment.
GPA, Brazil's largest diversified retailer, wants to exit
Via Varejo to focus on food retailing. The company, which owns
supermarkets under the Pão de Açúcar brand, posted a
larger-than-expected third-quarter loss, due in part to a sharp
drop in non-food sales at the group.
Brazil's appliance retailing segment has struggled over the
past two years with the impact of a recession not seen in eight
decades and a credit crunch, which worsened as unemployment and
interest rates climbed.
France's Casino Guichard Perrichon SA, which in turn
controls GPA, hired Santander Brasil to advise on
the Via Varejo deal. The Klein family, holder of a 27.3 percent
stake, has hired the investment banking unit of Banco Bradesco
SA as adviser.
(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Additional reporting by Paula
Laier; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Lisa Shumaker)