France opposes Couche-Tard’s $25B Carrefour bid citing food security

France’s Finance Minister on Thursday said any takeover of French retailer Carrefour by a foreign company would be a “major difficulty,” as the government wants to preserve the country’s food security and sovereignty.

Canadian convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard’s near $25 billion takeover approach for Carrefour – continental Europe’s largest retailer – has also raised French government concerns about job security at one of the country’s largest employers.

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“Having Carrefour being bought by a foreign company would be a major difficulty for all of us,” Bruno Le Maire said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

“Food security is at the core of the strategic challenges of all developed nations,” he said.

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Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne underlined the political opposition to a takeover of Carrefour by Alimentation Couche-Tard, calling for no change in the company’s current shareholding structure.

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“I am in favor of not questioning Carrefour’s current shareholding structure and allowing (the company) to pursue its strategy, so (I am) opposed to a takeover,” Borne told Europe 1 radio.

Shares in Carrefour pulled back following the government’s opposition, after a 17 per cent jump on Wednesday.

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