Alimentation Couche-Tard drops bid for French retailer

Marianne Wilson
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Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has dropped its plans to buy Carrefour SA, but the two retailers plan to look for opportunities to work together.

As previously reported, Canadian convenience store giant Couche-Tard, whose banners include Circle K, had been exploring a possible takeover of French grocer Carrefour in a roughly $20-billion deal that would have created a transatlantic retail powerhouse. But the possible transaction almost immediately met resistance from the French government, which said a transaction would threatened jobs and the country's food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In a joint statement, the two companies said among the preliminary areas of cooperation to be explored are sharing best practices on fuel, pooling purchasing volumes, partnering on private labels, improving the customer journey through innovation, and evaluating ways of optimizing product distribution in the overlapping networks.

"The opportunity for operational partnerships with Carrefour will further our journey towards becoming a leading global retailer,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO, Couche-Tard. “The discussed areas for cooperation align with our five-year strategic plan, as well as our commitment to strengthening our core convenience and fuel business and pursuing opportunities in multiple, related growth platforms."

"Building innovative partnerships is a key part of Carrefour's transformation strategy,” said Alexandre Bompard, chairman and CEO, Carrefour. “The promising partnerships anticipated with North American leader Couche-Tard is fully aligned with this strategy, which has enabled us to return to a profitable growth path."