(Updates share performance throughout)
SAO PAULO Oct 18 Shares in Via Varejo SA fell
on Tuesday after a key minority shareholder denied speculation
about a potential exit from Brazil's largest home appliance
Units, a blend of Via Varejo's common and
preferred shares, shed as much as 3.3 percent after the Klein
family denied earlier in the day reports that it planned to sell
a 27.3 percent stake in the retailer.
In a statement to Reuters, the Kleins said they have
received no proposal for the stake. The statement followed a
report by O Globo newspaper columnist Lauro Jardim, who said the
Kleins had been approached by South Africa-based household and
apparel retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV over the
Steinhoff could pay the Kleins as much as
1.5 billion reais ($471 million) for their interest in Via
Varejo, which is majority owned by France's Casino Guichard
Perrachon & Cie, Jardim's column in O Globo said.
Still, analysts questioned why Steinhoff would approach the
Kleins before Casino, which owns 43.3 percent of Via
Varejo. Any transaction with the Kleins would not automatically
trigger a Steinhoff buyout of other minority shareholders.
"Steinhoff is an operator, which would make it more willing
to control and manage the asset, in our view," said Tobias
Stingelin, an analyst with Credit Suisse Securities in São
The stock closed down 2.2 percent at 8.46 reais on Tuesday.
Units had jumped up to 9.5 percent shortly after markets opened
on the O Globo report, extending two days of sharp gains
accompanied by heavier-than-average trading volumes on the
Via Varejo is up 153 percent this year.
The report comes as Via Varejo finalizes the integration of
CNova NV's Brazilian business, while fanning speculation that
the Kleins, who founded one of the appliance retailers that
formed the company, want to exit to invest in other sectors
including civil aviation and real estate.
The Kleins have three seats in Via Varejo's nine-member
board and their special shareholders rights expired earlier this
Via Varejo is the by-product of the Casino-engineered merger
of appliance retailers Casas Bahia SA, which the elder member of
the Kleins founded in the late 1950s, and Globex Utilidades SA.
The French retailer bought both companies in 2009 through local
unit GPA SA.
GPA gained 2.5 percent to 56.65 reais, extending gains this
year to 35 percent.
($1 = 3.1820 reais)
(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Bruno Federowski;
Additional reporting by Tatianaautzer in São Paulo; Editing by