Carrefour adds to the intrigue around a rival French grocer

IS IT possible to reject a takeover bid that has not been made? Such ontological questions rarely bother mergers-and-acquisitions bankers. France is different. At around midnight on September 23rd Casino, a supermarket chain, said its board of directors had unanimously rejected a hostile takeover attempt by Carrefour, a bigger rival. By sunrise, the supposed bidder insisted it had made no such offer. Investors have been left scratching their heads in the manner of undergraduates grappling with the tenets of existentialism.

Whether a merger is in the works remains unclear. Carrefour might have sniffed an opportunity in the travails of Casino, part of the empire of Jean-Charles Naouri, a well-connected former civil servant and mathematician. His shops, which include the upscale Monoprix chain, are well run. But the firm is heavily indebted, and sits at the bottom of a cascade of listed firms also saddled with loans. Concerns over the health of its balance-sheet have prompted Casino’s...

via Business Feeds

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