Atacadao operates 33 stores across eight states in Brazil, with almost half of its outlets in the wealthy Sao Paulo area. The company recorded revenues of BRL5bn (US$2.2bn) in 2005.
The Atacadao auction is likely to be completed by mid-July. Two other prominent retail groups, Costco and the Chilean retailer Cencosud, have also been mentioned as possible bidders for the company, but as yet neither has made a preliminary offer.
If either Wal-Mart or Carrefour were successful in a bid for Atacadao, one or other would overtake CBD as Brazil’s leading retailer.