GLOBAL: Casino To Take Cnova Private

Casino has announced that it plans to take its Cnova e-commerce unit private, just 18 months after publicly listing it on the Nasdaq index in the US. The French retail giant said its decision was prompted by continued difficulties in Brazil.

Casino is offering $5.50 per Cnova share, a 60% premium to Wednesday’s closing price, but considerably below the $7-per-share price at which it listed.  It said the buyback will cost it up to $196m.

The group will also merge Cnova’s Brazil operations with its Via Varejo appliance chain in the country, and will focus heavily on Cnova France. It added: “This transaction is aimed at simplifying Casino’s group structure and would allow Cnova to refocus through CDiscount on e-commerce in France, a market where it has a proven leadership position and clear growth prospects”.

The move follows a string of asset sales by the group, as it looks to lower its debt levels.