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Douglas CEO Sees ‘No War’ Between Kreke Family and Erwin Mueller

Douglas Holding AG Chief Executive Officer Henning Kreke said there is “no war” between his family and shareholder Erwin Mueller as investors jockey for position ahead of a possible takeover.

Mueller, who acquired options to boost his stake in the German perfume and makeup retailer in recent weeks, is a “fierce competitor” for the Kreke family nonetheless, the CEO said. Kreke doesn’t know what “Mueller is trying to accomplish by selling put options on Douglas stock,” he told analysts on a conference call.

Douglas has surged 22 percent this year amid speculation it could be a takeover target. Kreke last month said the retailer is in talks with financial investors about a possible stake sale or acquisition.

The Kreke family continues to have “very good relationships with the Oetker Group,” the Hagen, Germany-based company’s biggest shareholder, the CEO said.

Mueller, who owns 10.8 percent of Douglas, has options that may allow him to acquire an additional 15 percent, the company said on Feb. 3. The Kreke family has a 12.7 percent stake. Dr. Oetker Group, a German foodmaker, holds 25.8 percent.

Kreke commented on a conference call today that wasn’t open to journalists. The company made a recording available to reporters afterwards.

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