(Reuters) – Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard and European retailer Carrefour SA decided to work on partnership opportunities after their acquisition talks failed, the two companies said in a joint statement on Saturday.
Couche-Tard dropped its € 16.2 billion ($ 19.57 billion) offer for Carrefour after the French government opposed the deal, citing food safety concerns.
The decision to end the discussions came after a meeting on Friday between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Couche-Tard founder and chairman Alain Bouchard.
“Food safety is strategic for our country, that is why we do not sell a large French retailer. My answer is extremely clear: we are not in favor of the agreement. It is a polite no, but it is a clear and final no,” Le Maire said.
The Canadian firm had submitted a non-binding offer letter this month to buy the European retail giant at a price of € 20 per share.
The companies said they had decided to extend their discussions to examine opportunities for shared practices in fuel purchases, private label partnerships and overlapping chain distribution.
(Report by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; edited in Spanish by Gabriel Burin)