Couche-Tard exploring combination with French grocery giant Carrefour.

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Canadian convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche – Tard said on Tuesday it has initiated exploratory discussions with Europe’s biggest retailer, Carrefour SA, regarding a potential transaction.

There is no certainty at this stage that these discussions will result in any agreement or transaction, Couche – Tard said in a statement.

READ MORE: Small business group slams new Ontario COVID-19 retail restrictions

As of Tuesday, Carrefour had a market capitalization of $19.56 billion and Couche – Tard ‘s market capitalization was $47 billion.

Extended work-from-home policies and a resurgence in coronavirus cases in several countries have led shoppers to stock their pantries and avoid dining out or ordering in.

In a separate statement, Carrefour acknowledged Couche – Tard ‘s approach to discuss a combination.

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Bloomberg News reported earlier that Couche – Tard has made an initial approach to Carrefour, and a deal could help Couche – Tard diversify into the supermarket business and expand its presence in Europe.

In Europe, Couche – Tard operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia through 10 units.

Couche – Tard entered the Asian market in November through a deal to buy Convenience Retail Asia Ltd’s Hong Kong unit for $457.81 million.

© 2021 Reuters

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