In the last move of a disposal program of non-core assets to free up its finances, French retailer Casino said that it is in discussions to sell Leader Price to Aldi. The two groups were working on the terms of the deal after Aldi’s “expression of interest” with a view to Aldi making a binding offer, the Financial Times reported.
The reported announcement comes after a report from a French daily that noted a deal to sell Leader Price to Aldi could finish up in the next month or so. Discount chain Leader Price recorded €2.5bn in sales last year, which was reportedly 0.5 percent lower than the year before on a like-for-like basis. And, even though any sale would be subject to the approval of competition authorities, analysts don’t see issues. Aldi only has an approximately 2 percent market share in France.
Similar to competitors Carrefour, Leclerc and Auchan, Casino is experiencing the effects of a price war that has gone on for multiple years in its domestic market. A sale of Leader Price was reportedly broadly anticipated by analysts following the announcement of a second wave of asset sales for Casino targeting €2bn in disposals by Q1 2021.
In September, Casino said it would put the priority on important geographies as well as “buoyant formats” eCommerce, convenience and premium, primarily its Monoprix, Franprix and Cdiscount banners. That reportedly started talk that Leader Price “was on the block” per FT.
In separate grocery news, a report surfaced in July that Uber was reportedly talking to European supermarkets about partnering up for a potential grocery delivery service to compete with rivals like Amazon and Deliveroo. The company was in talks with the second biggest grocery chain in the United Kingdom, Sainsbury’s, which announced a recent partnership with Deliveroo to deliver hot pizza to homes in four cities in the country per reports at the time. “We’re currently speaking with a number of the major supermarkets around Europe,” an Uber spokesman said per reports at the time.