Luxury billionaire Arnault sells his Carrefour brand

PARIS, September 1 (Reuters) – French luxury billionaire Bernard Arnault has sold the Carrefour supermarket group (CARR.PA), the retailer in which he first invested 14 years ago and whose potential takeover by the Canadian Couche-Tard was revealed earlier this year.

Arnault held a 5.7% stake through his holding company Financière Agache, which raised 724 million euros ($ 854 million) by selling shares on the market in an accelerated bookbuilding process, the bookkeeper said on Wednesday. Societe Generale.

Carrefour shares lost just over 5% at the start of the session.

Agache’s stake was sold at 16 euros per share, after Arnault, alongside Colony Capital and Axon Capital, acquired an initial 9.8% stake in 2007 at an average price of 47 euros per share.

Carrefour has undergone several transformations, the shareholders of which have benefited from the division of activities, including its supermarket chain DUA. Arnault was one of its three major shareholders, along with the Moulin family and Brazilian businessman Abilio dos Santos Diniz.

The company renewed in May the tenure of chief executive officer Alexandre Bompard, who led a turnaround plan involving cost cuts and a push in e-commerce to boost sales and profits, for a further three years.

Arnault, the richest man in France, backed Bompard in January when the executive was in talks with Canadian Couche-Tard over a buyout deal, sources said at the time. Couche-Tard finally dropped its offer of nearly $ 20 billion for Carrefour after encountering opposition from the French government. Read more

Bompard has since proceeded with the acquisition of Grupo BIG, valued at around $ 1.3 billion, and has claimed that Carrefour is viable on its own.

Agache is focused on fashion and luxury investments and took a stake in sandal maker Birkenstock in February.

The vehicle had already started to sell part of its stake in Carrefour in 2020.

($ 1 = 0.8478 euros)

Reporting by Sarah White Editing by David Goodman and Barbara Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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