Circle K Owner in Talks to Buy Carrefour for About $20 Billion


Dinesh Nair, Ed Hammond, Manuel Baigorri and Angelina Rascouet, Bloomberg

via Yahoo Finance - January 13, 2021


(Bloomberg) -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian owner of Circle K convenience stores, is exploring a takeover of French grocer Carrefour SA in a roughly $20 billion deal that would create a trans-Atlantic retail giant.


Couche-Tard’s initial proposal values the French company at about 20 euros per share, people with knowledge of the matter said. That would represent a roughly 29% premium to its Tuesday closing price.


Shares of Carrefour rose 14% in Paris on Wednesday, trading shy of 18 euros. Couche-Tard slipped 2.2% after a Bloomberg report on the talks, valuing the company at almost C$46 billion ($36 billion).


Couche-Tard confirmed Tuesday that it has started “exploratory discussions” on a friendly deal with Carrefour. There’s no certainty the talks will lead to a transaction, the Quebec-based company said. Both parties see room for negotiation on the final price, according to people familiar with the situation.


Couche-Tard’s focus has been convenience stores and gas stations, not supermarkets. It has built an empire by methodically acquiring smaller rivals, first at home in Canada before entering the U.S. in 2001 and Europe in 2012. Lately its focus had been on the U.S. and Asia Pacific regions, where it tried to buy Caltex Australia Ltd. before deciding against a revised offer during the pandemic.


Carrefour operates more than 2,800 supermarkets and 703 larger-format hypermarkets Europe. In Latin America, it has stores in Argentina and Brazil.


The company, which has about 320,000 workers globally, is the biggest private employer in France. The retailer generates about half its sales from the domestic market, where foreign takeovers of key companies are politically sensitive.


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