Blog: Dean BestPower to the, er, shareholder!

Dean Best | 30 August 2007

Shareholder power got another shot in the arm today (30 August) with the news that Carrefour is to sell off part of its property portfolio.

The French retail giant owns a bank of retail assets worth around EUR20bn (US$27bn) and rumours of their future has grown since an activist investors took a 9% stake in Carrefour earlier this year.

The investors, investment vehicle Colony Capital, were understood to be keen for Carrefour to sell off its property and return the cash to shareholders. No-one quite knew for certain what Colony’s intentions were but the fund had previous. Colony was seen to be instrumental in encouraging another of its interests, French hotel group Accor, into offloading sections of its property portfolio.

Fast forward to today and we see Carrefour, hitherto reluctant to sell its property, announcing plans to list the business that houses the assets. Whether Colony put pressure on Carrefour is unclear but there is no doubt that shareholders will be the beneficiaries from the IPO.

A number of retailers have come under pressure to return cash to shareholders by selling off property, not least UK grocer Sainsbury’s.

And, as takeover speculation continues to swirl around Sainsbury’s, today’s news from across the Channel will n o doubt make interesting reading for certain investors.


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