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Insolvent German DIY chain Praktiker attracts second bid-sources

Clouds are pictured above the German do-it-yourself retailer Praktiker in Berlin July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz
Clouds are pictured above the German do-it-yourself retailer Praktiker in Berlin July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Insolvent German home improvement retailer Praktiker has attracted a second offer for its stores, this time for more of the shops, two people familiar with the situation said.

The bid comes as talks over the acquisition of Praktiker's upmarket unit Max Bahr by rival Hellweg are already approaching a final stage.

The new bid comes from Praktiker's own management with the backing of a group of funds and would see 175 Praktiker and Max Bahr stores being taken over, the sources said.

The insolvency administrator has doubts over the viability of the plan, said two other people familiar with the situation.

"Until now, the administrator is not looking into this option", one of these people said.

The funds would provide fresh equity and become majority holders of Praktiker and existing debt would be swapped for equity, the people familiar with the proposal added.

"More jobs could be saved and existing creditors would be better off", one of the sources familiar with the plan said.

Praktiker, a household name in Europe's biggest economy, is being sold off piecemeal after the administrator failed to find a buyer for the whole group.

Originally Praktiker operated 315 stores in Germany and another 99 abroad as well as another 132 outlets under the Max Bahr brand.

Hellweg has teamed up with former Max Bahr chief Dirk Moehrle and is in advanced talks to buy 73 Max Bahr stores for more than 100 million euros ($136 million).

However, Hellweg has struggled to line up financing for the transaction and trade credit insurance, which is vital to keep the business afloat. Hellweg is hoping to strike a deal by early next week, one of the people familiar with the situation said.

The administrator declined to comment, while Hellweg and Praktiker were not immediately available for comment.

($1=0.7356 euros)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Alexander Hübner; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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