France Says Not in Favor of Couche-Tard Buying Carrefour

Pedestrians pass a Carrefour Market supermarket, operated by Carrefour SA, in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian convenience-store operator that owns the Circle K chain, is exploring a takeover of French grocer Carrefour SA, a deal that would create a trans-Atlantic retail giant.
Pedestrians pass a Carrefour Market supermarket, operated by Carrefour SA, in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian convenience-store operator that owns the Circle K chain, is exploring a takeover of French grocer Carrefour SA, a deal that would create a trans-Atlantic retail giant.

(Bloomberg) -- The French government is opposed to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. buying France’s retailer Carrefour SA, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Le Maire said food supply in France is crucial for the country’s sovereignty. “From this point of view, the idea of Carrefour being bought by a foreign competitor, on the face of it I am not in favor of this deal,” he said on France 5 television.

The roughly $20 billion deal would create a trans-Atlantic retail giant, combining Carrefour’s extensive European base with Couche-Tard’s North American focused network of 24-hour convenience stores.

Le Maire said rules on state screening of foreign investments that were strengthened during the pandemic will allow the state to block deals in food distribution.

“Food sovereignty comes before everything,” Le Maire said.

Couche-Tard has said it is in “exploratory discussions” on a friendly deal. There’s no certainty the talks will lead to a transaction, the Quebec-based company said.