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Brazil’s Klein Family Said to Use Citi on Via Varejo Deal

Brazil’s billionaire Klein family hired Citigroup Inc. and Arion Capital to advise on a plan to buy out Cia Brasileira de Distribuicao Grupo Pao de Acucar in retailer Via Varejo SA for as much as 3.5 billion reais ($1.71 billion), two people familiar with the matter said.

Samuel Klein and his son Michael have a 47 percent stake in Sao Caetano do Sul-based Via Varejo, which has a market value of 6.2 billion reais, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Kleins have informed Pao de Acucar of their plan to make an offer for its 52 percent stake in Via Varejo, said one of the people, who asked to not be named because the plans haven’t been announced.

Booming consumer demand in Brazil has made billionaires of Samuel Klein, a Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor, and his son. In 2010, Samuel Klein sold a stake in his chain of home-appliance stores, Casas Bahia Comercial Ltda., to Pao de Acucar. The combination resulted in Via Varejo.

The Kleins are considering making an offer for Via Varejo after France’s Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA exercises its option to became the sole controlling shareholder of Pao de Acucar on June 22, one of people said.

Michael Klein has spoken with Pao de Acucar Chairman Abilio Diniz and Casino about the acquisition, Veja magazine reported on May 12.

A representative for Klein in Sao Paulo who asked not to be named said no talks are under way. Officials at Citigroup, Sao Paulo-based Arion and Saint-Etienne-based Casino declined to comment. Pao de Acucar hasn’t been notified about the Kleins’ plan, according to a company official who asked not to be named.

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