UK Markets open in 6 hrs 42 mins

Fnac Darty shares jump after report that Czech investor may increase stake in company

The logo of electrical goods retailer Darty in Nice

PARIS (Reuters) -Fnac Darty's shares surged on Thursday after a media report saying that Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky would be ready to buy the 24% stake in the company held by top shareholder Ceconomy, the German electronics retailer.

BFM Business, citing several unnamed sources, also said that if Kretinsky, already Fnac Darty's second-largest shareholder with stake of roughly 20%, were to gain control of 44% of the company, a de-listing of Fnac Darty shares could follow.

A Ceconomy spokesperson told Reuters there were no talks with the Czech investor, who has been expanding his portfolio in recent years, while a Kretinsky spokesman declined to comment.

"This is at the rumour stage," Fnac Darty finance director Jean-Brieuc Le Tinier told reporters, responding to the earlier report regarding Kretinsky's intentions.

Fnac Darty shares closed up 7.7%, giving the company a market capitalisation of around 1.04 billion euros ($1.10 billion). Ceconomy shares closed down 3.5%.

Fnac Darty also published its annual results on Thursday, in which it warned of an uncertain economic environment this year due to inflationary pressures, and added it expected slightly lower sales in the first half of 2023.

Kretinsky, who built one of Europe’s largest energy groups through more than a decade of deals, has been diversifying and scouring retail, media and other areas for investments.

In France, he has built a 10% stake in French supermarket group Casino through VESA, the holding company he controls with partner Patrik Tkac.

Kretinsky also has a minority share in French newspaper Le Monde and owns via his Czech Media Investment holding company several French titles such as Elle and news magazine Marianne.

($1 = 0.9452 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Jason Hovet, Tassilo Hummel, Matthias Inverardi, Sudip Kar-GuptaEditing by Alexander Smith and Matthew Lewis)