Groupe Casino has said that it ‘rejected’ an approach by rival Carrefour over a potential tie-up, however Carrefour has denied suggestions that any such approach took place.
In a statement issued early this morning, Groupe Casino said, ‘Casino has been contacted by Carrefour over the last few days with a view to a possible combination.
‘A meeting of Casino’s board of directors was accordingly held today, September 23, 2018. The board unanimously reiterated its entire confidence in Casino’s strategy for value creation based on its unique market positioning.’
‘Defend Corporate Interests’
Elsewhere in the statement, Casino said that it was intending to take ‘all necessary action’ to defend its corporate interests and structural integrity.
It noted that the board of directors ‘acknowledged the barriers’ a combination with Carrefour would present - particularly in France and Brazil - and that the board ‘unanimously’ rejected the retailer’s approach.
It also said that Carrefour’s approach took place at a time when Casino has been subject to ‘coordinated downward speculative manipulations of an unprecedented scale’.
But in a strongly worded response, Carrefour said that the challenges faced by Casino are not enough to justify ‘untimely, misleading and groundless communications’.
It denies having approached Casino, and said that it is ‘surprised’ that its rival’s Board of Directors would have ‘submitted a merger proposal that does not exist’.
It said that it remains committed to its 2022 transformation plan, and is ‘reviewing its legal options in order to stop these inacceptable innuendoes’.
Insiders have also suggested that a tie-up would prove unworkable.
"There would be too many regulatory issues, and the two companies have different cultures," Ion-Marc Valahu of Clairinvest told Reuters.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.