French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA will pay as much as $196 million to buy out its Cnova NV online retail business, just a year and a half after listing about 6 percent of the unit in New York.
Casino is offering $5.50 a share, it said in a statement on Thursday.
That’s 62 percent higher than Cnova’s closing price on Wednesday, though less than the $7 a share Casino sold the shares for in a November 2014 initial public
Casino has been selling assets in Asia and Latin America to cut borrowings amid an attack from shortseller Carson Block. Among Block’s criticisms is that the retailer has a “dangerously” high debt burden, an assertion the company denies. Standard and Poor’s cut Casino’s credit rating to junk in March.
Cnova said last month it no longer complied with Nasdaq listing rules because it didn’t file an annual report on time. In
December, the company started an investigation into employee misconduct related to inventory mismanagement at distribution centers in Brazil. The probe identified a potential overstatement of 2015 sales of about 30 million euros ($34.2 million).
Groupe Casino is a French mass retailer with operations around the world. The company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange and its majority shareholder is Rallye SA. With the acquisition of a controlling interest in Grupo Pão de Açúcar in Brazil and the agreement with Galeries Lafayette to acquire 50 percent of Monoprix, 2012 saw Groupe Casino raise its profile in high-growth markets.
Today, the Group has a network of more than 12,000 stores, of which 9,450 are in France. It operates in eight countries, generating net sales of €48,645 million and employing 329,000 people (2013).