retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Financial Times reports that Canadian convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard has broached the possibility of acquiring France-based supermarket chain Carrefour, a deal that would create a retailing entity valued at upwards of $50 billion (US).

According to the story, "the talks were at an early stage, the companies said on Tuesday night in separate statements. Couche-Tard, which owns the Circle K brand, had made the approach fairly recently, said one person briefed about the matter, while a second said Carrefour needed time to study the idea."

Some context for the FT story:  "Couche-Tard, based in Montreal, has a network of more than 9,200 convenience stores across North America through several brands, employing about 109,000 people. The group has a smaller presence in Europe, where it has fewer than 3,000 stores. It also owns petrol stations, often located on site. Carrefour is France’s largest grocery chain with about 2,000 supermarkets and more than 700 large-format hypermarkets in Europe; it also has a presence in Brazil and Argentina."

KC's View:

Couche-Tard has long grown through acquisition, so this seems entirely in character.  It'll be interesting to see what the reaction is in France, especially among regulators who may take a dim view of having one of the nation's most prominent retailers bought by an outside company.

I have to wonder, regardless of whether this deal goes through, what other acquisitions might be percolating at Couche-Tard.