By Le Figaro with AFP
The two billionaires, backed by the British investment fund Attestor, have yet to convince creditors made up of major French and European banks.
The Casino group gave the green light on Monday to “continue negotiations” with billionaires Daniel Kretinsky and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, now backed by the British fund Attestor and alone in the running for the takeover of the distributor in difficulty after the announcement of the withdrawal on Sunday evening of the Niel-Pige-Zouari trio, according to a press release. Before taking control of the group with 200,000 employees, the duo of billionaires and Attestor still have to convince creditors made up of major French and European banks, investment funds or institutional players, to whom a presentation of “the revised offer received on July 15by Casino was made on Monday.
Casino’s Board of Directors,on the unanimous recommendation of its ad hoc committee comprising almost all of the independent directors, decided to pursue negotiations with EP Global Commerce as (one of Daniel Kretinsky’s investment vehicles), Fimalac (holding company of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière) and Attestor“, According to the Casino press release published Monday evening.
The trio Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pige and Moez-Alexandre Zouari had thrown in the towel on Sunday, feeling betrayed by a process “biasedand accusing Casino of havingobviously already chosen its buyer“. 3F, the holding company through which the trio intended to take over the struggling distributor, also accuses the investment fund Attestor of having contributed to the competing offer “while continuing to participateat its own meetings.
A somewhat modified offer
Daniel Kretinsky and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière’s offer had been “a little modified» compared to the initial offer in order to ensure the support of more creditors of Casino, had indicated Sunday the Czech billionaire to the newspaper The echoes. The plan now provides for the injection of 1.2 billion euros in new money, including more than 900 million euros from the duo, against 1.35 billion in the initial proposal.
The Czech billionaire also closed the door to the historic boss of Casino, Jean-Charles Naouri, the current owner of the group but who will no longer be at the end of the operation, whatever the outcome. Francophile, Daniel Kretinsky, 48 years old and whose fortune amounts to 9.7 billion dollars (about 8.6 billion euros) according to Forbes, started investing in France in 2018. It holds stakes in media (Liberation, Marianne, etc.), distribution (Fnac Darty), publishing (Editis, agreement concluded in June) and industry (mainly in energy).