Lidl wants to use the impending takeover of Casino by Czech retail magnate Daniel Kretinsky to acquire 600 supermarkets in France. The German discounter even claims to be prepared to buy all stores.
The Voltaire project
Lidl is pitching to take over the 600 French supermarkets of Casino and Monoprix. The German discounter has approached British fund Attestor, saying it is interested in hundreds of stores. Attestor initially backed candidate trio 3F, but is now supporting Kretinsky’s bid.
In a letter, Lidl CEO Kenneth McGrath lists nearly 600 shops – almost equally divided between Casino and Monoprix, that the German group would like to buy from the ailing Casino group. The shops concerned, according to Le Monde, are all over France – from Marseille to Paris. Adding to Lidl’s insistence, McGrath says it has enough flexibility to buy Géant hypermarkets as well and even take over all Casino and Monoprix stores if required.
To prove that it is not just a bluff, McGrath says the project is called “Voltaire” internally and enjoys the support of the highest ranks within parent company Schwarz. France is said to be a key market for the group. Attestor confirms the letter, but says no talks are ongoing (yet). Kretinsky has already left the door open for a territorial downsizing of the Casino group.