Germany appeals for deal to save jobs at supermarket chain

BERLIN (AP) — The German government is appealing to rival retailers to reach an agreement that would prevent job losses at a supermarket chain that faces being broken up.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also economy minister, in March overrode antitrust authorities’ decision to block the takeover by Edeka — Germany’s biggest groceries retailer — of over 400 supermarkets belonging to smaller rival Kaiser’s. A court later suspended his decision.

Kaiser’s owner, Tengelmann, then tried but failed to reach a compromise with rivals that would enable the takeover. On Monday, it started listing individual stores for sale.

Kaiser’s has some 15,000 employees. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that “the companies involved should leave nothing untried to reach an agreement, an amicable solution in the interest of the people affected.”

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