Couche-Tard withdrew its proposed merger with the giant Carrefour after the veto opposed by the French government, the Bloomberg agency announced Friday evening, citing sources familiar with the matter.
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Joined by AFP, neither Couche-Tard nor Carrefour confirmed the information on Friday evening.
The decision to end negotiations between the two groups was taken after Couche-Tard founder Alain Bouchard traveled to Paris to offer assurances to the French government.
The Quebec local food retail giant in particular pledged to invest billions of euros in Carrefour, to maintain all jobs for two years, as well as the group’s listing on the Paris Stock Exchange, in parallel with Canada, according to the financial agency.
Although talks are now broken off, they could resume if the French government changes its position, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.
“My position is a no courteous, but clear and definitive”: the French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire showered the hopes of the supporters of the “rapprochement” envisaged by Couche-Tard and Carrefour, explaining on BFMTV and RMC that “we do not sell one of the major French distributors”.
Bruno Le Maire explained his position on Friday to the founder of Couche-Tard M. Bouchard, as well as to his Quebec counterpart Pierre Fitzgibbon by telephone, Bercy told AFP.
Couche-Tard announced Wednesday that it had “recently submitted to Carrefour a non-binding letter of intent with a view to a friendly rapprochement”.
Couche-Tard proposed a price of 20 euros per share which would have valued the French distributor at more than 16 billion euros, excluding a debt of several billion euros that was also to take over the Quebec group.