Conducting Negotiations in Modern Boardroom


Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian convenience-store giant that owns the Circle K chain, is exploring a potential acquisition of French grocer Carrefour SA, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Couche-Tard has made an initial approach to Carrefour to discuss a combination, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Shares of Carrefour have risen 10% in Paris trading this year, giving the company a market capitalization of 12.6 billion euros (US$15.4 billion) at Tuesday’s close. Couche-Tard shares slipped 2.2% after the Bloomberg News report, closing at $41.31 in Toronto to value the company at almost $46 billion (US$36 billion). Representatives for Couche-Tard and Carrefour couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Entering the supermarket business would represent a major shift for Couche-Tard, which built a convenience-store empire by methodically acquiring smaller rivals, first at home in Canada before entering the U.S. in 2001 and Europe in 2012. Lately its focus had been on the U.S. and Asia Pacific, where it tried to buy Caltex Australia Ltd., before deciding against a revised offer during the pandemic. A deal with Carrefour would help expand its presence in Europe, where its potential target operates more than 2,800 supermarkets and 703 larger-format hypermarkets, and in Latin America, where it has stores in Argentina and Brazil.

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