Blog: Dean BestCarrefour, Casey's making M&A waves either side of Pacific

Dean Best | 10 September 2010

A couple of notable M&A stories in the retail sector are rumbling on either side of the Pacific Ocean right now.

In the US, a second bidder has been confirmed - and named - for convenience retailer Casey's General Stores.

In a statement issued overnight, Casey's confirmed reports that 7-Eleven, the US arm of Japanese retailer Seven & I Holdings, had tabled an offer worth US$2bn. Casey's has rebuffed the bid but has decided to enter into talks with 7-Eleven to try to extract more from its larger rival.

All the while, Canada's Couche-Tard, which first went public with its interest in Casey's five months ago, waits in the wings. Couche-Tard has made a series of offers, all of which have been rejected by the Casey's board in what has become quite a bitter takeover battle.

Couche-Tard's persistence means it is unlikely to just walk away from the table, although it remains unclear whether it can even match 7-Eleven's higher offer, let alone trump it. The intrigue will mount as the days pass.

What's more, Casey's AGM is in two weeks, a meeting where Couche-Tard has put up a clutch of its own nominees to the US firm's board. The twists and turns of the past week are set to intensify in the days ahead.

Across the Pacific, more details are emerging about Carrefour's plans to sell off part of its business in Asia.

Speculation has surrounded Carrefour's operations in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore since July. The French retail giant has said little in public, although it issued a statement on 9 July to deny that it plans to close any outlets in Malaysia and Singapore. The statement made no mention of its stores in Thailand.

Nonetheless, there has been a drip drip of reports indicating Carrefour does plan to put the stores up for sale. Reports have also linked a series of possible suitors to the business, including France's Casino, pan-Asian retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings and Tesco.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Carrefour had put Casino and Tesco on a shortlist of bidders, which also includes Japanese retailer Aeon Co.

The report said the buyers had made indicative bids and will have to make binding offers by the end of October.

Dairy Farm and two other companies also made first-round bids, Bloomberg said.

Like Casey's, this story seems set to last into the autumn.


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