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December 8, 2011

FRANCE: Carrefour confirms Guyenne et Gascogne talks

Carrefour today (8 December) confirmed it is in talks with franchise partner Guyenne and Gascogne, negotiations that could see the French retail giant buy a stake in the business.

Carrefour today (8 December) confirmed it is in talks with franchise partner Guyenne and Gascogne, negotiations that could see the French retail giant buy a stake in the business.

Europe’s largest retailer confirmed media reports that it is in talks with its long-term partner about a “business combination”.

The two companies own a joint venture, Sogara, which operates 13 Carrefour hypermarkets in south-west France. Sogara also owns 8.2% of Centros Commerciales Carrefour, which operates Carrefour stores in Spain. Guyenne et Gascogne itself also operates six Carrefour hypermarkets and 27 Carrefour Market supermarkets in France.

Carrefour said negotiations with “certain of [Guyenne et Gascogne’s] shareholders” are taking place but stressed that no final decision has been taken.

A spokesperson for the hypermarket giant only confirmed that talks had taken place and refused to comment further.

There have been a number of rumours in the French press about the deal. Yesterday, Le Figaro reported that a major shareholder of Guyenne et Gascogne wants to sell its 21.3% stake.

Rival French newspaper Les Echo, citing sources, today wrote that Carrefour is mulling selling its stake in Altis, a franchisee it operates jointly with Spanish group Eroski, to finance the potential purchase. Yesterday, the paper said four funds which hold a combined 40% of Guyenne et Gascogne threatened to partner with rival Auchan if Carrefour did not buy their stake.

Guyenne et Gascogne, meanwhile, confirmed talks with Carrefour were underway.

It added: “If this business combination was to go ahead, it would be carried out with reference to share price levels that exclude any impact resulting from the rumours seen in the press.

“At this stage, it is not certain that these talks will culminate in an agreement. Guyenne et Gascogne will be keeping the market informed of any significant developments as quickly as possible.”

Guyenne et Gascogne shares rose 4.6% to EUR88.97 as of 12.38 GMT.

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