New Carrefour shareholder, Colony Capital, in alliance with Bernard Arnault, has put the value of the company's 6m square metres of property at EUR30bn (US$40.1bn).

The valuation is considerably higher than the EUR20bn previously announced by the French retail giant and, it is believed, could mark the beginning of a campaign by Colony to get Carrefour to sell off some of its property assets.

Analysts have said that Carrefour's CEO José-Luis Duran knowingly underestimated the worth of the group's property in order to dampen interest in a possible sale.

As a stakeholder in Accor, Colony was instrumental in pushing the French hotel group into selling its property assets. Accor's share prices soared as a result. This method is said to have convinced Arnault to align himself with Colony in buying up a 9.1% stake in the retailer

Duran recently commented that relinquishing property assets would allow Carrefour to develop more quickly and return value to shareholders but underlined that such an operation could put the group's operating income in danger.