Majid Al Futtaim, the Middle Eastern operator of Carrefour stores, is the lead bidder for a controlling stake in the Géant hypermarket chain, according to three people familiar with the matter.
MAF, as the Dubai-based conglomerate is known, was up against Saudi Arabian retailer Bindawood Holding, the people said, asking not to be identified, as the information is confidential.
Bahrain-based private-equity firm Investcorp Bank BSC acquired a stake in Bindawood last year. While MAF is close to concluding a deal, talks may still fall apart, the people said.
Privately owned Majid Al Futtaim, whose assets include Dubai hotels and a mall featuring an indoor ski slope, is seeking acquisitions to fuel growth, CEO Alain Bejjani said in an interview with Bloomberg Television last month.
Géant, a franchise of French grocery retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon, operated by Dubai-based BMA International Group, hired BNP Paribas to advise on the sale, which could fetch as much as $500 million, people familiar with the matter said in December.
A spokesman for MAF declined to comment, while officials at BMA International, which controls the Géant business in the Middle East, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Officials at Bindawood couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Géant began its Middle Eastern operations in 2001, with a store in Bahrain. The company has stores in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, according to its website.