A Couche-Tard store in Montreal.



The reconciliation would be abandoned.

The Canadian Couche-Tard withdrew its proposal for a merger with the giant Carrefour after the veto put by the French government, the Bloomberg agency announced Friday evening, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Joined by AFP, neither Couche-Tard nor Carrefour confirmed the information on Friday evening.

The decision to end negotiations between the two groups was taken after Couche-Tard founder Alain Bouchard traveled to Paris to offer assurances to the French government, according to the agency.

A resumption of discussions not excluded

The Quebec local food retail giant notably committed to investing billions of euros in Carrefour, to maintaining all jobs for two years, as well as the group's listing on the Paris Stock Exchange, in parallel with Canada, says Bloomberg. .

Although talks are now broken off, they could resume if the French government changes its position, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.

"My position is a no courteous, but clear and definitive": the French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire showered the hopes of the supporters of the "rapprochement" envisaged by Couche-Tard and Carrefour, explaining on BFMTV and RMC that "we do not sell one of the major French distributors".

“Food security is strategic for our country,” he said.

Canada annoys

Bruno Le Maire explained his position on Friday to the founder of Couche-Tard M. Bouchard, as well as to his Quebec counterpart Pierre Fitzgibbon by telephone, Bercy told AFP.

Bercy's explanations have not convinced the Canadian government, which denies that a group like Couche-Tard can be accused of threatening food security in France.

"We can argue that it is politically possible to decide not to allow the country's main employer to pass into foreign hands," admits a Canadian government source joined by AFP.

“But we cannot accuse a leading Canadian company like Couche-Tard of endangering the food sovereignty of an entire country,” added this federal source, who requested anonymity.

The provincial government of Quebec did not wish to react on Friday evening.

Couche-Tard announced Wednesday that it had "recently submitted to Carrefour a non-binding letter of intent for a friendly rapprochement".

Couche-Tard proposed a price of 20 euros per share which would have valued the French distributor at more than 16 billion euros, excluding a debt of several billion euros that was also to take over the Quebec group.

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