French supermarket chain Casino has been sentenced to paying a compensation of € 6.25 million to the Baud family after unlawfully ignoring the latter's preferential right to buy the Polish Leader Price stores. Instead, Casino sold the supermarkets to Tesco.
From 550 million, down to 6
The conflict originates in the sale of the Polish Leader Price supermarkets to Tesco in 2006. Leader Price founders the Baud family had sold their chain to Casino but had kept a preferential right to reclaim the chain should Casino decide to sell it. Casino claimed it has “always acknowledged the omission of notification but pleaded the unintentional nature of this omission.”
Furthermore, the chain objected to the “obviously excessive demands of the Baud family”, who originally demanded a compensation of € 550 million. The arbitration tribunal followed Casino in this regard, reducing the original compensation fee of € 7.25 million by € 1 million of “legal costs”. Casino immediately announced that the final compensation is “disproportionate to the Baud family's initial demands and has no significant impact on the group's accounts.”
Years of legal battles
Casino's cooperation with the Baud family started ten years ago, when the group started buying parts of Baud's Franprix and Leader Price chains. Things started to get worse however, when in 2007 Casino's chairman Jean-Charles Naouri blamed the family of “putting her own interests before the company's interests” - the fact that both chains had ever deteriorating results will not have helped the family.
Since then, legal procedures have been launched back and forth, most of them without a result. Last February however, Casino was already ordered to pay the Baud family € 52 million extra for the sale of the family's minority share in Franprix and Leader Price. The latest arbitrary decision is still not the end of the conflict, as the Baud family has revoked a part of their claims during the trial, in order to put the claims before a civil tribunal.