Canadian convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc said it has initiated exploratory discussions with Europe's biggest retailer, Carrefour SA, regarding a potential transaction.
There is no certainty at this stage that these discussions will result in any agreement or transaction, Couche-Tard said in a statement.
As of Tuesday, Carrefour has a market capitalisation of €12.64 billion ($15.43 billion) and Couche-Tard's market capitalisation was $37 billion (€30.3 billion).
Extended work-from-home policies and a resurgence in coronavirus cases in several countries have led shoppers to stock their pantries and avoid dining out or ordering in.
In a separate statement, Carrefour acknowledged Couche-Tard's approach to discuss a combination.
'Carrefour has been approached, in a friendly manner, by the Alimentation Couche-Tard group, with a combination project,' it said. 'Discussions are very preliminary.'
Bloomberg News reported earlier that Couche-Tard has made an initial approach to Carrefour, and a deal could help Couche-Tard diversify into the supermarket business and expand its presence in Europe.
In Europe, Couche-Tard operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia through.
Couche-Tard entered the Asian market in November through a deal to buy Convenience Retail Asia Ltd's Hong Kong unit for HK$2.79 billion.