Blue Capital has Carrefour in sights

Amid apparent disagreement, the Halley family — which controls 13% of Carrefour — told the world on Wednesday night that they had decided to give up two of its three supervisory board seats, having torn up the shareholder pact that permits them to have double voting rights.

Those changes will take effect at Carrefour’s annual general meeting on April 15, which could see Blue Capital make a full-blown takeover of the supermarket chain.

Already, Blue Capital owns 9.1% of Carrefour.

While Robert Halley will remain the chairman of Carrefour’s board, the family officially decided to dissolve its shareholder pact “to have more freedom to manage their holdings.”

“If some members of the Halley family sell their stake, Blue Capital could be a buyer in order to reinforce its control of the group – and theoretically it would be free to launch a full takeover bid,” Citi analysts argue.

However, they qualify that statement:: “We do not believe it is in Blue Capital’s mind to launch a full bid — as it has already influenced Carrefour’s strategy, as shown by the announcement last August of a €4.5bn return to shareholders (€3bn from real estate externalisation).”