September 11, 2019 / 5:37 AM / 4 months ago

Carrefour weighing bid for French retail rival Casino -BFM

PARIS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour is weighing a possible bid for its debt-laden rival Casino, potentially through an all-share deal, BFM TV reported on Wednesday.

Casino declined to comment and Carrefour was not immediately available for comment.

Carrefour has been examining a potential offer for several weeks, BFM said, citing several unidentified sources. Initial talk around a bid would value Casino at 4-4.2 billion euros, or a 25% premium to its market value at the end of June, BFM added.

Casino has been struggling against a tough business climate in France, where the impact of a price war among supermarket operators has dented retailers’ profit margins.

Casino CEO and controlling shareholder, Jean-Charles Naouri, is hunting for ways to ease the company’s debts - and those of parent company Rallye - in part through asset sales.

In May, Casino’s parent Rallye was placed under protection from creditors. Last week, Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak partner Patrik Tkac bought a 4.63% stake in Casino.

The two groups were already locked in a dispute last year amid talk of a Carrefour takeover bid for Casino. Casino came out in September 2018 saying it had rejected a tie-up approach from Carrefour, which Carrefour denied making. ($1 = 0.9047 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White and Gwenaelle Barzic; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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