Bernard Arnault sells Carrefour 14 years later


Bernard Arnault update

French luxury goods billionaire Bernard Arnault sold his remaining stake in food retailer Carrefour, ending a disappointing 14-year investment after a buyout attempt was blocked earlier this year .

According to Societe Generale, the investment bank responsible for the process, Arnault’s holding company Financière Agache sold a 5.7% stake in Carrefour for 16 euros per share on Wednesday, raising 724 million euros in earnings.

Carrefour’s investment is a rare mistake for the tycoon who controlled LVMH and built his empire through acquisitions to become one of them. The richest People in the world. Arnault caused a loss to Carrefour: his share price was close to 47 euros when he bought it in 2007, even though he should have received dividends during this period.

Carrefour shares closed down 5% on Wednesday, becoming the biggest loser in the blue-chip CAC 40 index, which rose 1%.

Since 2017, under the leadership of CEO Alexandre Bompard, Carrefour has been restructuring and selling assets such as China’s operations. It is the largest grocery chain in France, with approximately 2,000 supermarkets and more than 700 large supermarkets in Europe.

Bompard’s cost-cutting initiatives in recent years have freed up cash for large investments in e-commerce, which has flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January of this year, Couche-Tard, which operates convenience stores and gas stations in Canada, approached the company and agreed Acquisition This will make it valued at approximately 20 Euros per share.But the French government Block the meeting, Said Carrefour is a strategic enterprise of great significance to the national food supply and agricultural base.

Arnault’s exit will leave Carrefour’s other two major shareholders, who also have a place on the 13-member board of directors. According to data from Refinitiv, the Moulins family, which owns the department store Galeries Lafayette, has held approximately 10% of the shares since 2014, while Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz holds approximately 8% of the shares.

A person familiar with the matter said that Arnault’s withdrawal was because he was frustrated with Carrefour’s slow pace of transformation. But in a statement on Wednesday, Arnault praised the CEO’s record. “In the past four years, Carrefour has achieved a remarkable recovery under the leadership of Alexander Bompard,” Arnault said. “After 14 years as a long-term shareholder, we decided to re-adjust our investment direction.”

Arnault’s Financière Agache holds shares in fashion and luxury goods, invests in technology start-ups, and took a stake in sandal manufacturer Birkenstock in February.

Carrefour’s exit had a ripple effect on the stocks of French media and retail group Lagardère, another company that Arnault invested in. After a report was released, its stock price fell by 7% BFM TV Arnault is also considering selling Lagardère.

He bought about 25% bet In last year’s limited partnership structure, this move was seen as Rescue The heir, Arnaud Lagardère, faces pressure from corporate predator Vincent Bolloré and activist investor Amber Capital.

An Arnault spokesperson declined to comment on Lagardère.


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