French supermarket operator Casino and its partner Galeries Lafayette have announced a deal that could see Casino take charge of high street food and clothing retailer Monoprix by 2006.

Casino and Galeries Lafayette each hold approximately 50% of the shares in Monoprix, which is currently enjoying above average sales growth for the sector. The deal announced by the two partners enables Casino to take overall control of Monoprix by 2009 at the latest.

Under the terms of the agreement, minority shareholders – who hold just 1.3% of Monoprix shares – will be bought out at €219 (US$235.4) per share plus interest calculated at the one-year Euribor rate. Shares in Monoprix were suspended at €210 yesterday [Monday].

The current shareholding structure will remain static at 50-50 until January 2006. After that date, Galeries Lafayette has the option to sell its entire 50% stake to Casino at a minimum guaranteed price of €219 per share.

Should Galeries Lafayette decline to sell, Casino has a call option that takes effect on 1 April 2009 to take 10% of the company from Galeries Lafayette, allowing it to take control of Monoprix.