Carrefour-Casino tussle

The war of the supermarket titans is back on.

Abilio Diniz, the chairman and former owner of Brazil’s biggest retailer, Pão de Açúcar, put out a statement on Tuesday accusing France’s Casino of “abusing its power” as the group’s new controller.

The latest source of contention between Diniz and Casino’s chief executive and key shareholder, Jean-Charles Naouri, is simple. Diniz plans to take on the role of chairman of Brasil Foods, the world’s largest poultry exporter, while remaining chairman of Pão de Açúcar. Naouri claims this presents a conflict of interest. Read more

Even Abilio Diniz, Brazil’s 76-year-old retail tycoon and fitness fanatic, knows when to call it a day.

After years of fighting for the company his father founded, on Friday he sold a third of his preferential shares in Pão de Açúcar worth R$1.5bn ($736) – well, that is according to one person close to the transaction and local media reportsRead more

“We take note of BNDES’ decision not to finance the operation as it was proposed by Gama and therefore that the conditions necessary to the completion of this proposal have not been met.”

Er, what? That, apparently, was Carrefour on Wednesday morning bringing down the curtain on one of the most dramatic and short-lived sagas in Brazilian corporate history. But, beyondbrics can’t help wondering, if everyone is giving up so quickly on what was obviously going to be a very tough deal to push through, why did they bother proposing it in the first place? Read more

“Before even knowing it was impossible, he went there and did it.” Motivational messages such as these, as well as the more mundane “try to avoid mayonnaise and fried food” fill the pages of the autobiography of Abilio Diniz, the Brazilian tycoon who proposed a $14bn merger between his family company, Pão de Açúcar, and Carrefour.

The deal is now in pieces after BNDES, Brazil’s state development bank, withdrew its €1.7bn ($2.4bn) of financial support for the transaction late on Tuesday following a near-revolt among shareholders. Read more

The battle of Brazilian retail escalated on Monday with an exchange of press releases between Carrefour and Casino, the French arch-rivals slugging it out over Grupo Pão de Açúcar, the Brazilian supermarket chain.

As the struggle progresses, Casino is claiming the high ground. Carrefour and GPA are lawbreakers, its says, and it will defend its rights to the end. But the proposed deal, so far portrayed as an affront to Casino’s (CO:PAR) interests, could yet work in its favour.  As Napoleon (pictured) might have said, it ain’t over till it’s over. Read more

Jean-Charles Naouri is not known for putting himself in the spotlight. However the softly-spoken chief executive of French retailer Casino is likely to take centre stage in the coming days as he jets off to Brazil to fight to safeguard his company’s Brazilian assets.

Known as one of French retailing’s canniest operators, few would have expected Naouri to have been outfoxed by his Brazilian partner Abilio Diniz, who earlier this week admitted he had contacted Casino’s arch rival Carrefour to discuss a potential partnershipRead more

The battle for control of Grupo Pão de Açúcar has tended to be portrayed as a three-way struggle between Brazilian billionaire Abilio dos Santos Diniz and two French companies, Casino and Carrefour.

But another way of viewing it is as a battle between two big egos – that of Mr Diniz, Brazil’s leading figure in retailing, and Jean-Charles Naouri (pictured above), the controlling shareholder, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Casino. Read more

Amid all the noise and smoke of battle over Grupo Pão de Açúcar’s attempted tie-up with Carrefour in Brazil, one thing is clear: the deal is going nowhere unless Casino – Carrefour’s arch rival and co-controller of GPA – says Yes.

And Casino could not have given a more resounding No. But will it change its mind? There are powerful reasons for saying it should never think of such a thing – but others for thinking it just might. Read more

Casino made clear on Thursday that it won’t give up without a fight.

The French supermarket chain announced it had increased its shareholding in Grupo Pão de Açúcar by 6.2 percentage points to 43.1 per cent in the face of an attempt by arch-rival Carrefour to grab a stake in Brazil’s top retailer. But that’s unlikely to stop Carrefour – or do anything to restore relations with Abilio Diniz, Casino’s Brazilian partner. Read more

The volume of the dispute between France’s Casino and billionaire Abilio dos Santos Diniz over control of Brazil’s biggest retailer could hardly have gotten louder on Wednesday.

Casino took out giant advertisements in Brazilian newspapers decrying a proposed deal announced a day earlier under which Grupo Pão de Açúcar, the retailer it controls with Mr Diniz, would be merged with the local assets of French rival, Carrefour. Read more

The battle between Abilio dos Santos Diniz and his French partner Casino over control of their Brazilian retail venture, Grupo Pão de Açucar, has entered the territory of slapstick comedy.

When rumours of the deal first leaked in May that Mr Diniz was talking to Carrefour about doing some kind of deal involving the French group’s Brazilian assets, Casino was furious that its partner of many years would talk to its arch-rival. Read more

There must have been the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth above Avenue Kléber in Paris on Monday night when news arrived at Casino’s head office that its Brazilian partner, Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), had reached a deal with Carrefour, its French arch-rival.

Casino’s press statement on Tuesday morning didn’t leave much doubt about the reaction of Jean-Charles Henri Naouri, Casino’s CEO, and his colleagues. They thought they had a deal with GPA that would give them control of Brazil’s biggest retailer next year. They may very well have a case. But a look at the advisers behind Tuesday’s deal suggests it may be time for some deep breathing. Read more

We have a battle on our hands in Brazilian retailing. Carrefour, the French hypermarket chain, said on Tuesday it had received an offer to join forces with Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), Brazil’s biggest supermarket chain, to create easily the biggest company in the sector.

Sounds great – except that GPA already has an agreement with Casino, Carrefour’s French arch-rival, that appears to allow Casino to take control of GPA next year. Read more

Reports in the French press that Carrefour is mulling a merger of its Brazilian unit with Grupo Pão de Açúcar, the country’s largest retailer, had beyondbrics scratching its head.

Afterall, a quick scan through the French retailer’s 2010 results seems to paint a picture of a Brazilian business that is in rude health (especially when compared with the flagging performance at Carrefour’s European hypermarkets). Read more