Quebec giant Founding President Alain Bouchard surrendered Friday evening, failing to convince French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire of the group’s credentials of the Alimentation Couche-Tard and Carrefour.
The billionaire businessman apparently went to Paris to meet with Mr. Le Myre, but the talks were in vain. In the afternoon of Quebec time, the Reuters agency revealed that Couch-Tard’s management had resigned to abandon its $ 25 billion project, which was intended to avert the Atlantic political storm.
Prior to receiving Mr Bouchard, Minister Le Myr further raised his opposition to the proposed deal. “My position is not polite, but clear and firm,” he said.
For his part, his Quebec counterpart, Pierre FitzGibbon, acknowledged that the French government had the power to budge on the intentions of Couche-Tard.
Couche-Tard’s disqualification was a blow to Franco-Quebec relations, especially as the Legalt government “facilitated” the acquisition of Bombardier’s two major units, the C-Series Airbus and Allstom. And the Bombardier Transport, Mr. FitzGibbon recalled Friday.
The Quebec minister, however, was hopeful that Alain Bouchard would succeed in “resolving” Bruno Le Myre’s concerns about food security, which he considered “legitimate”, especially in the midst of an epidemic.
“The arrival of the couche-tard in the capital Carrefour should not affect food security, we are talking about distribution and not production,” Mr FitzGibbon said.
“Couche-Tard takes it upon itself to send Qcheck products to the Carrefour ecosystem,” he says. And it’s not about jobs. Jobs are not leaving France to come to Montreal. “
Pierre FitzGibbon himself spoke with Mr. Le Myre as well as Mr. Bouchard and Roland Lesquier, former senior executive of the Kaisse de Depot et Placement, who is now a member of the ruling party in France.
The wise Trudeau
It is impossible to know on Friday whether Ottawa has contacted Elysee in this regard.
“We have a role to play as a government to support Canadian businesses, including those seeking to expand globally,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In the French press, we were shocked on Friday about the signal sent to the international scene by Emmanuel Macron’s government to reject the deal between Couche-Tard and Carrefour, calling it “probusiness”.
FitzGibbon acknowledged that Couche-Tord’s hostility to the unions in Canada would complicate matters in France, while at the same time assuring that the company was “a very good owner”.
According to Resonates, Couche-Tard claims to have invested three billion euros (CA $ 4.6 billion) over five years to develop Carrefour. According to Bloomberg, the company is ready to offer a two-year guarantee of job management in France, followed by Carrefour’s headquarters and its inventory in Paris.
Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannash and Carrefour CEO Alexander Bompard co-led the joint venture, Reuters reported.
If Couche-Tard does not lay the towel, Canada could help with free trade with Europe (CETA), a lawyer involved in negotiations for the deal for Ottawa said Friday.
“Refusing to consider any Couche-Tord request is, in my opinion, a violation of both French law and CETA,” said Pierre-Oliver Savoy. Journal.
Couche-Tard’s last major acquisition was in 2017 by American CST brands. Last year, the Couche-Tard Australian group failed to acquire Ampol (formerly Caltex), which gave it nearly $ 8 billion, and the American chain Speedway, which was swallowed up by Japanese giant 7-Eleven for $ 21 billion.