The Netherlands' Macintosh Retail Group intends to make a EUR55 (US$79.2) per share bid for Belgian footwear chain the Brantano Group.

The bid price would represent a premium of 29.8% on Brantano's average closing price in the past three months.

A statement by Brantano said that the agreement has been reached with its main shareholders Mitiska NV and Sobradis NV, which together hold 56% of the company's shares.

Mitiska and Sobradis have "irrevocably and unconditionally undertaken to offer their shares at the bid price," the company said, and will recommend the bid within Brantano's board of directors.

"The Brantano board of directors views this as a friendly bid and will clarify its viewpoint in accordance with the legislation in force and on the basis of the prospectus in its Memorandum in Reply," Brantano said.

The voluntary public bid now depends on approval by a general meeting of shareholders of Macintosh, although prior consultations have obtained support from approximately 45% of its shareholders already, the company said.

It also depends on at least 85% of Brantano's outstanding capital being contributed to the bid and approval from the Belgian competition authorities.

Macintosh is a large-scale non-food retailer, specialising in products for the home, fashion, automotive and telecom markets.

Macintosh operates approximately 990 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Brantano had 286 stores at the end of July 2007, in Belgium, Luxembourg, the UK and franchised stores in the Middle East.

In the event of a takeover, Brantano would operate under its current management as an independent subsidiary of Macintosh, it said.

"Macintosh Retail Group has extensive international experience in distribution in various sectors and in shoe distribution in particular," said Joris Brantegem, chairman of the Brantano board of directors.

"We are happy that we have found the right strategic buyer and that Brantano can continue to grow under the leadership of the current management as an independent subsidiary of the Macintosh Retail Group."

Brantano's CEO Kurt Moons added that synergies between Brantano and Macintosh's existing Scapino and Hoogenbosch shoe formulas could lead to "significant purchasing and competitive advantages."