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Arcandor AG iL

legal form Public company in liquidation
founding 1999
Seat Essen , GermanyGermanyGermany 
management Hans-Gerd Jauch (insolvency administrator)
Number of employees 50 (2012)
sales € 19.9 billion (fiscal year October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008)
Branch Department store and mail order business, tourism

The Arcandor AG in Liquidation (until 30 June 2007 KarstadtQuelle AG ) was a trade and tourism company with headquarters in Essen with the three core business areas of retail , mail order and tourism . One of the main institutional shareholders was the private bank Sal. Oppenheim , which was taken over by Deutsche Bank in 2009 . Madeleine Schickedanz is currently the main shareholder.

In June 2009, Arcandor AG applied to the Essen District Court to open insolvency proceedings . The bankruptcy proceedings were opened on September 1, 2009.

Key figures

Before the restructuring of the group, a turnover of 15.3 billion euros was achieved in 2004 with over 100,000 employees. The Karstadt department store and the Primondo mail order division each contributed around 20 percent to consolidated sales. The Thomas Cook tourism division generated around 60 percent of group sales.

2008 2007
Areas Employee Employees as
full-time equivalent
in million
Employee Employees as
full-time equivalent
in € million
Thomas Cook 34,290 31,264 11,378.5 32,286 29,070 11,758.5
Primondo 19.209 15,606 4,309.8 21,332 16,837 4,037.5
Karstadt 32,352 23,195 4,095.1 33,682 24,304 4,238.2
other areas
(services and real estate)
422 378 205.6 472 426 262.3
Cumulative run 86,273 70,443 19,989 87,772 70,637 20,296.5
Fiscal year 2008: October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008
Fiscal year 2007: October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007
  • = Employees including trainees as of September 30, 2008 and October 31, 2007

Business areas

The business areas of the Arcandor group were stationary retail in Germany , mail order and tourism:

Stationary retail in Germany
Mail order
  • Primondo with:
    • Universal mailer:
      • Quelle GmbH liquidation decision on October 19, 2009
      • Complete takeover of Neckermann by Sun Capital on October 8, 2010. Neckermann is no longer part of the Arcandor Group.
    • Special delivery: divided into the areas
    • Complete takeover of Karstadt Quelle Employee Trust eV in November 2010
    • New media: HSE24 , myby (until December 2009)
  • Thomas Cook Group: As part of the Arcandor bankruptcy, the Thomas Cook shares still held by Arcandor in 2009 were sold on the London Stock Exchange in September 2009 by the creditor banks to which these shares were pledged against loans.

As a result, Thomas Cook has not been part of the Arcandor Group since September 2009.


Timeline of the most important mergers and spin-offs from KarstadtQuelle and Arcandor
Company / brand before 1950 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 10 11 12
Karstadt ... "Karstadt" to KarstadtQuelle to Arcandor
HERTIE ... "HERTIE" "Karstadt"
"Karstadt compact" to KarstadtQuelle sold " Hertie " insolvent
Neckermann "Neckermann Textil-Versand KG" to Karstadt to KarstadtQuelle to Arcandor ( Primondo ) 51% sold
Valovis Commercial Bank "Karstadt Bank" "KarstadtQuelle Bank",
to KarstadtQuelle
to Arcandor to Valovis
Valovis Bank "Karstadt Hypothekenbank" "Valovis Bank"
source … "Source" to KarstadtQuelle to Arcandor ( Primondo ) Trademarks partly to the Otto Group sold
ERGO direct insurance "Quelle + Partner Insurance" "KarstadtQuelle Insurance",
about KarstadtQuelle
Condor "Condor Flugdienst GmbH" to C&N Touristic AG to Thomas Cook to Thomas Cook plc.
Neckermann Reisen "Neckermann und Reisen GmbH" (ONLY) "NUR Touristic GmbH",
to Karstadt
Thomas Cook ... "Thomas Cook"
MyTravel "Airtours" "MyTravel Group plc"

Foundation of KarstadtQuelle AG (January 1999 to September 1999)

Logo of the former KarstadtQuelle AG

KarstadtQuelle AG was created in 1999 through the merger of the department store group “ Karstadt AG ” with the mail order company “ Quelle Schickedanz AG & Co. ” The merger became effective in September 1999 retrospectively to January 1, 1999 after a settlement with some shareholders of Karstadt AG. A new group was created with 116,000 employees and annual sales of DM 32 billion.

Crisis and Consolidation (July 2000 to March 2007)

In July 2000, the first CEO, Walter Deuss, resigned after criticizing his work. He was succeeded by Wolfgang Urban . Neckermann celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2000.

In January 2001 Karstadt announced that it would cut up to 7,000 jobs. The group bought the textile chain " SinnLeffers ". In November 2001 Christoph Achenbach became head of the group subsidiaries "Quelle" and "Neckermann". "C & N Touristik AG" becomes "Thomas Cook AG", in which KarstadtQuelle and Lufthansa each hold 50 percent. Tourism has thus become an important part of the group. In October "KarstadtCoffee GmbH", a joint venture with Starbucks, was founded .

Between 2002 and 2004 there was a decline in sales and a slump in net income. In 2002 Quelle celebrated its 75th anniversary and the Quelle insurance company became “ KarstadtQuelle Insurance ”. In 2004, Quelle started shipping nationwide in Russia .

In May 2004, CEO Wolfgang Urban - who, like his predecessor, was accused of having failed corporate policies - had to leave the company (officially for health reasons). In June 2004, Christoph Achenbach became CEO and Thomas Middelhoff became Chairman of the Supervisory Board .

KarstadtQuelle struggled with the problems of the entire retail trade, but also with home-made problems. So, contrary to the market trend, they stuck to the extensive range. Critics complain that the facility is no longer timely and the program is not customer-friendly. The catalog concept was also outdated at Quelle, and the brand had to be repositioned.

In October 2004 it became known that the KarstadtQuelle Group was in dramatic financial difficulties. After several missed opportunities to reorganize and restructure the group and due to the persistent retail slump, it was announced that 8,500 jobs would be cut and 77 of the 189 department stores (all with less than 8,000 square meters of sales area) in Germany, a large part of the group's investments (specialist retail, Shares in Thomas Cook AG and DSF ) to save the company.

In November 2004 it was published that in the third quarter of 2004 a loss of 1.1 billion euros had occurred. The group then separated from Starbucks. The total loss in 2004 was 1.625 billion euros.

After the conclusion of a solidarity pact between employees, management, shareholders and banks, the implementation of the restructuring and realignment concept of the KarstadtQuelle Group takes place. This realignment provided for the concentration on the core business and the separation of peripheral activities. The separation from Starbucks was one of the first large divestments of the group's portfolio. The shares in DSF were transferred to EM.TV in January 2005 . In August 2005, 75 Karstadt branches ( Karstadt Kompakt GmbH & Co. KG ), 51 SinnLeffers fashion stores and the specialist retail chain Runners Point were sold. For Quelle and Neckermann, the repositioning to new target groups was initiated. The number of catalogs per year has been increased for both brands.

Since March 2005, a pool of shareholders around Madeleine Schickedanz has held over 50 percent of the shares. In May 2005, Thomas Middelhoff became CEO at the request of Quelle heiress and major shareholder Madeleine Schickedanz. At the same time, the AG lost in a sample lawsuit a property dispute with the heirs of the Wertheim Group , who were represented by the Jewish Claims Conference . The share fell by eight percent, as further losses of 150 million euros in the legal dispute over the property Lenné-Dreieck on Potsdamer Platz were possible. For 4.5 billion euros, KarstadtQuelle has meanwhile sold 51 percent of its real estate portfolio to Goldman Sachs , with whom the AG now jointly holds the Whitehall real estate fund .

In 2006, as part of the consolidation of the group, important import services for the brands Karstadt, Quelle, and other specialty mail order companies were transferred to the Hong Kong trading house Li & Fung instead of the previous importers based in Germany. A purchase price reduction of ten percent and an import volume of more than two billion euros per year are targeted. In the future, Li & Fung will allow Arcandor to make up to twelve collections a year. In addition, according to Arcandor, the required working capital for Arcandor will be reduced by half a billion euros, since Li & Fung has a longer payment term for suppliers than Arcandor or the former KarstadtQuelle AG had previously. The previous purchasing subsidiary KarstadtQuelle International Services AG (KQIS, St. Gallen) and its 1,100 employees were sold to Li & Fung Ltd. for 60 million euros. sold. In particular, Li & Fung will take over the sampling and quality assurance of the contract-made goods on site and will in future handle the payment transactions for Arcandor's global import business. The designs for the private label collections, however, should remain in Arcandor's hands due to the establishment of its own design centers in London and Asia, as well as the negotiation of terms with the individual suppliers.

In May 2006, the company announced that it was looking for a new name for the group holding company, as the great importance of the tourism division is not taken into account in the old name and the name should sound more international. After the difficulties of previous years and a phase of upheaval, the group was back in the black for the first time in mid-2006. In autumn 2006 the company celebrated its 125th anniversary. At the end of November 2006 it became known that KarstadtQuelle wanted to part with its mail order company .

In 2007 the company created the world's third largest tourism company by merging its subsidiary Thomas Cook with the British MyTravel plc .

At the end of March 2007, KarstadtQuelle announced in a press release that after a loss of 316 million euros in 2005, a profit of 346 million euros had been achieved in 2006 and was thus in the black for the first time since the crisis.

The Arcandor era (from March 2007)

On March 29, 2007 the company announced that the holding company of the KarstadtQuelle Group would in future operate under the name Arcandor . The change of name was announced by CEO Middelhoff at the company's annual press conference in Düsseldorf .

The final confirmation of the new name of the holding was made at the company's general meeting on May 10, 2007. In addition, CEO Middelhoff announced that he would be leaving KarstadtQuelle at the end of 2008 after the company was successfully restructured. On April 23, 2008, however, he extended his contract to at least the end of 2009. Since then, however, the new name Arcandor has only applied to the group holding company. The traditional names Karstadt for the department stores, Quelle for the mail order business and Thomas Cook for the travel business should be retained.

According to Manfred Gotta , the made-up word Arcandor is an example of a particularly unsuccessful attempt to introduce a new company name. Arcandor is mainly associated with the strangling snake anaconda . According to the will of the name creators, however, it should remind of arcades and D'or (gold).

In May 2007 the TV station HSE24 was bought. The retail and tourism group is paying around 200 million euros for this. The agreement was made with the owner of the station, InterActiveCorp .

Crisis from 2008

The Arcandor Group hit negative headlines again in September 2008: In the middle of the preparations (purchase / inventory) for the Christmas business, the credit insurer Euler Hermes announced that it would limit the default guarantees for shipments to Arcandor subsidiaries such as Karstadt, Quelle and Peter Hahn . According to media reports, the cause is increased risks due to the talks about refinancing the retail group, whose net debt at that time was around 1.5 billion euros. A short time later, Arcandor was able to reach an agreement with the banks to refinance its loans. The temporary cap on the default guarantees was then lifted again.

At the end of September 2008, Arcandor carried out a capital increase of ten percent of the share capital, which was fully subscribed by the private bank Sal. Oppenheim . In addition, Sal. Oppenheim took over a share package of 19.5% from the previous major shareholder in Arcandor, Madeleine Schickedanz. As a result of both measures, the private bank's stake in the trading group rose to around 29.5%. Before the capital increase, Schickedanz held a stake of 53.3%.

On November 3, 2008, the private bank Sal. Oppenheim granted Arcandor AG a loan of EUR 20 million until April 3, 2009.

On December 2, 2008, it was announced that Middelhoff would be handing over the chairmanship to Karl-Gerhard Eick , previously CFO of Deutsche Telekom, in spring 2009 . According to research by the editors of the show Hart aber fair ( Das Erste , March 25, 2009), Middelhoff received a severance payment of EUR 2.3 million at a time when the share price had reached a historic low.

After Karl-Gerhard Eick took over as CEO in mid-February 2009, he spoke of a crisis at Arcandor and proposed a restructuring plan. Arcandor has debts of over 2.6 billion euros, of which 650 million euros will be due in June 2009 alone. Arcandor has to pay rental payments of around 350 million euros annually. The monthly rent amounts to around 23 million euros, which go to a consortium consisting of the investment bank Goldman Sachs , Deutsche Bank , the real estate division of the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli and Generali insurance . Five, later four, houses belong to the Oppenheim-Esch Fund of Sal.-Oppenheim fund manager Josef Esch , in which Thomas Middelhoff, Madeleine Schickedanz and other millionaires have invested. Since March 27, 2006, the property company Highstreet , founded especially for this purpose, has owned 86 houses, 51% of which was acquired by Goldman Sachs' managing director Alexander Dibelius through the Goldman Sachs real estate company Whitehall . 49 percent stayed with Arcandor temporarily . On March 19, 2008, this stake was also transferred to the Highstreet Holding , in which Deutsche Bank, Pirelli RE and the Borletti Group have been involved as consorts since then. The term of the rental contracts is 15 years. According to Eick's plans, the luxury department stores KaDeWe in Berlin , Alsterhaus in Hamburg and Oberpollinger in Munich are to be sold. State guarantees from the federal government (via KfW Bankengruppe ) and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are no longer excluded.

Arcandor has apparently convinced its major shareholder, the private bank Sal. Oppenheim, which holds 28.6% of Arcandor, to carry out a short-term capital increase of at least 100 million euros.

On May 24, 2009, Stefan Herzberg , chairman of the Karstadt management board, publicly addressed politics in the Bild newspaper. He made it clear that even a merger with Kaufhof would not be able to avert impending bankruptcy unless the parent company Arcandor received the requested guarantees and loans of 850 million euros in the next few weeks. If the guarantee is withheld from the group, the Arcandor group will go into bankruptcy. Around 6000 Karstadt employees protested on May 27, 2009 in Berlin for a 650 million euro guarantee and 200 million euro state loans from KfW Bank. A few days later, the SPD party chairman Franz Müntefering also spoke out in favor of a guarantee. On June 4, 2009, Arcandor applied for rescue aid from the European Union , one day later an application for state aid in the amount of 437 million euros to the German federal government in order to avert the probable bankruptcy on June 12. The EU Commissioner for Competition , Neelie Kroes , had previously expressed concerns about the government guarantees applied for in the amount of 650 million euros, as the group had already got into difficulties before the financial crisis. The SPD chancellor candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier had then promised a million-dollar guarantee, on the condition that the Karstadt parent company enter into a merger with its competitor Metro .

Bankruptcy June 2009

On June 9, 2009, Arcandor AG applied to the Essen District Court to open insolvency proceedings both for the parent company and for the subsidiaries Karstadt, Primondo and Quelle. The travel agent Thomas Cook, KarstadtQuelle Bank and the special mail order companies from Primondo and HSE24 are not affected by the bankruptcy. Competitor Metro continues to show interest in the Arcandor Group (including the takeover of 60 of the 90 Karstadt locations) and has announced that it intends to hold talks with "everyone involved in the insolvency proceedings" , including the owners of the Karstadt branches. But the reorganization is also stalling, as the responsible insolvency administrator and reorganization expert Horst Piepenburg has jumped out due to a lack of support from the major shareholders.

On June 12, 2009, the Essen public prosecutor opened an investigation into breach of trust against Thomas Middelhoff , the former CEO of Arcandor AG, in connection with the Group's real estate business. Middelhoff was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for embezzlement and tax evasion in 2014, which he served from 2016.

The restructuring and general agent Horst Piepenburg resigned his mandate on July 16, 2009 after disputes with the Arcandor major shareholder Sal. Oppenheim . After no major investor had been found, the individual corporate divisions were to be sold individually from August 15, 2009, but if possible as a whole. While the shares in the Thomas Cook Group could be sold without any problems, the sale of Quelle GmbH in particular encountered considerable problems; the company was ultimately broken up and the individual Quelle subsidiaries were sold individually. In the case of Karstadt AG , on April 12, 2010, the creditors agreed to an insolvency plan, which provides for the sale of the Karstadt department stores as a whole and a far-reaching waiver of claims by the creditors. When the bankruptcy money ran out at the end of August 2009, the Arcandor subsidiaries had to raise their salaries again from September 1, 2009. The name rights to Quelle were sold to the Otto Group at the end of 2009 . There were several interested parties for Karstadt, which was sold to Nicolas Berggruen in 2010 , who resold the company to Signa Holding in 2014 . Karstadt was merged with its competitor Kaufhof at the end of November 2018 .

The company pensions of over one hundred thousand employees and pensioners were secured through the Karstadt Quelle Employee Trust eV (KQMT) pension fund . The pension claims of over 2 billion euros were secured from bankruptcy. The Karstadt Quelle employee trust was also the owner of Valovis Bank  AG, the former Karstadt Hypothekenbank AG , until October 2012 . The Valovis Bank was smashed. A large part of the private customer business was taken over by Targobank in 2014 .

The company's logistics branch, “KarstadtQuelle Beschaffungslogistik”, will continue to operate under the name “Corporate Service (Germany) GmbH”. The company offers services for international purchasing, especially supply chain solutions. The managing directors of CSG are Marc Baeuerle and Stefan Graetz, the headquarters are in Düsseldorf.


On March 23, 2009, Manager Magazin published a study carried out by the German Association of Executives . 1000 specialists and managers were asked to rate Germany's best-known employers. According to this study, Arcandor was the most unfair employer in Germany.

CEO of KarstadtQuelle and Arcandor AG


At the beginning of October 2009, the private bank Sal. Oppenheim sold its shares in three steps, reducing its stake from 24.9 to 9.69 percent. Madeleine Schickedanz's share was then 21.5 percent.


Web links

Commons : Arcandor  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Gerd Jauch: Attorney of the creditors. Retrieved December 27, 2012 .
  2. Arcandor Group Annual Report 2007/2008 (page U4) (PDF; 1.8 MB)
  3. a b Arcandor files for bankruptcy . Mirror online. June 9, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  4. Insolvency information, accessed on June 2, 2019
  5. Rewe takes over the insolvent Internet shop MyBy . heise online. December 22, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  6. Thomas Cook is silver-plated . manager magazine. September 10, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Spiegel Online: "Green light for the merger" , September 30, 1999
  8. March 29, 2007 KarstadtQuelle becomes Arcandor
  9. When a new company name destroys 173 million euros . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 26, 2015, p. 22.
  10. Credit insurer limits default guarantees for shipments . Handelsblatt (page 11). September 15, 2008. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  11. Capital injection: Arcandor reaches an agreement with banks. Retrieved December 27, 2012 .
  12. Private bank Sal. Oppenheim makes a major investment in Arcandor. Retrieved December 27, 2012 .
  13. Arcandor AG Annual Report 2007/2008. (PDF; 1.8 MB) Retrieved December 27, 2012 .
  14. Arcandor: Telekom CFO Eick takes over from Middelhoff. In: December 2, 2008, accessed December 27, 2012 .
  15. - Arcandor boss Karl-Gerhard Eick - "My adrenaline level is like after three saved penalties" from April 27, 2009
  16. a b Manager Magazin , June 6, 2009: Karstadt branches. Arcandor discontinues rental payments
  17. "The super-rich received horrific Karstadt rents" , Die Welt, June 14, 2009.
  18. Manager Magazin , Sören Jensen: Sal. Oppenheim. The bricklayer and the bank ( memento of August 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), manager magazin, September 2005, of August 26, 2005, p. 32
  19. a b c Süddeutsche Zeitung - “The department store clique” by C. Dohmen, D. Graalmann, M. Hesse a. S. Weber of May 17, 2010
  20. a b, Carsten Knop, June 8, 2009: Thomas Middelhoff Karstadt rents are becoming a political issue.
  21. ^ Zeit Online , June 6, 2009: Department store crisis. Arcandor no longer pays rent
  22. Open Full Story - The three temples goods made by Arcandor ( Memento of 21 April 2009 at the Internet Archive ) of 20 April 2009
  23. - Press: Arcandor is to receive state aid from NRW from April 24, 2009
  24. ^ Handelsblatt - Arcandor - Refurbishment without end at Arcandor from April 21, 2009
  25. - Arcandor convinces major shareholder ( memento from August 1, 2012 in the web archive ) from April 29, 2009
  26. - All or nothing for Arcandor ( memento from August 1, 2012 in the web archive ) from April 30, 2009
  27. Wirtschaftswoche - The Deadly Sins of Arcandor, May 12, 2009
  28. cf. dpa : Karstadt boss calls for a swift state guarantee ( Memento from May 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) at, May 24, 2009 (accessed on May 25, 2009)
  29. ^ Karstadt protest: How the Arcandor bosses learn to demonstrate. Retrieved December 27, 2012 .
  30. cf. Müntefering calls for state aid for Arcandor at, May 30, 2009
  31. cf. Bienk, Kirsten: DJ UPDATE: Arcandor requests rescue aid from EU at, June 5, 2009
  32. a b cf. Steinmeier: Metro is supposed to save Karstadt ( memento from June 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) at, June 5, 2009
  33. cf. State guarantee for Arcandor in sight at, June 4, 2009
  34. The urban warfare begins . Focus Online. June 15, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  35. ^ Arcandor renovator Piepenburg resigns from office . bö July 16, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  36. Thomas Middelhoff - in the sights of the public prosecutor . Hamburger Abendblatt. June 13, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  37. Handelsblatt of May 13, 2016: Ex-top manager begins his detention
  38. Piepenburg throws down in dispute with major shareholder . World online. July 16, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  39. Arcandor is about to be broken up . Mirror online. August 12, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  40. ^ Quelle sale: Otto buys the Quelle brand , , November 5, 2009
  41. ↑ The merger of Kaufhof and Karstadt is perfect. WirtschaftsWoche, November 30, 2018.
  42. KarstadtQuelle employee trust : pensions for Arcandor employees secured . Dow Jones Germany. June 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved on November 12, 2011.
  43. ↑ The former Karstadt-Quelle-Bank Valovis is dismantled. In: Handelsblatt. July 23, 2013, accessed June 10, 2016 .
  44. Targobank fleddd the former Karstadt bank. In: Handelsblatt. December 2, 2013, accessed June 10, 2016 .
  45. Valovis Bank AG sells retail business to TARGOBANK. Valovis Bank, December 2, 2013, archived from the original on September 7, 2016 ; accessed on June 10, 2016 (press release).
  46. Official homepage Corporate Service (Germany) GmbH . Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  47. This is how fair Germany's employers are. Accessed: April 1, 2009
  48. ARCANDOR AG INHABER-AKTIEN ON Accessed on December 27, 2012 .
  49. Farewell to Sal. Oppenheim: Schickedanz again largest shareholder in Arcandor. Archived from the original on October 16, 2009 ; Retrieved December 27, 2012 .