BERLIN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The German cartel office is set to approve the merger of department chains Karstadt and Kaufhof, several people familiar with the matter said.
Karstadt owner Signa Holding of Austria struck a merger deal with Canada's Hudson's Bay, owner of Kaufhof, in September, as the two former rivals team up in the face of competition from e-commerce players such as Amazon and German online fashion retailer Zalando.
The cartel office will clear the merger plans without deepening the investigation, the sources said on Thursday.
Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the official decision in favour of the merger would be announced on Friday.
A spokesman for Germany's anti-trust regulator declined to comment, but said the deadline to conclude the first phase of the clearing procedure ends on Friday.
The businesses would have combined annual sales of 5.4 billion euros ($6.13 billion), Hudson's Bay said when the deal was signed.
The group will have 243 stores in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and employ some 32,000 people.
Signa will hold a 50.1 percent stake in the combined company and take the strategic lead on the business's board.
$1 = 0.8816 euros Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; writing by Tassilo Hummel; editing by Jason Neely