French retail chains Auchan and Intermarché have issued a joint bid for all of the remaining stores of their ailing competitor Casino. Worth more than a billion euros, the main aim of their bid is to keep Lidl at bay.
An unusual alliance in French retail: rivals Auchan and Intermarché are joining forces to jointly take over Casino’s 52 remaining hypermarkets and 353 supermarkets. According to trade magazine LSA, they are offering more than a billion euros.
This is only a preliminary, indicative offer, which serves mainly to cut off competition. Auchan Retail CEO Serge Papin confirmed the interest to France Bleu, but immediately added that probably every French supermarket group is looking to compete for (chunks of) the imploding Casino.
The biggest contender would be Lidl, which wants to buy the majority of Casino supermarkets on its own. Reportedly they have prepared a generous offer, but the discounter is not interested in the hypermarkets. Intermarché therefore sees is an opportunity: the group already had a deal around taking over 119 stores, with optionally sixty more, but with Auchan’s help is now going for the whole of Casino anyway.
Any bid is now being scrutinised by Casino’s consortium of owners, as well as by the unions, who above all want as much continuity as possible. Because Casino is a well-known name in the French supermarket landscape, and the government already helped mediate with creditors, politicians are also lurking over its shoulders.