by Dominique Vidalon and Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) – Businessmen Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Moez-Alexandre Zouari announced on Thursday that they wanted to work on “an industrial and lasting solution” for the Casino group, after the abandonment of a merger project with Teract. .

Teract is the result of the merger between the distribution activity of the agricultural cooperative InVivo and a financial investment vehicle launched by the three businessmen.

In a press release released Thursday, the latter announced that they wanted to launch, by “acting on their behalf”, an industrial project which would integrate a strengthening of the group’s equity and, if necessary, an adaptation of the existing debt to the capacities of Casino.

“This solution is open to all players interested in participating in the recovery of a historic player in distribution”, it is indicated in the press release.

This contribution of fresh money would come from an investment vehicle called “3F” and would be used for a recapitalization of Casino, said a source familiar with the matter.

These funds would clean up the group’s finances and potentially change the control currently held by businessman Jean-Charles Naouri.

Casino was until Thursday coveted by Teract and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

The first said he had decided by mutual agreement with Casino to put an end to the exclusive discussions opened since March to bring together the distribution activities of the two groups in France.

Casino said the end of discussions with Teract would have no impact on the project announced last month with Groupement Les Mousquetaires, owner of the Intermarché supermarket chain.

This agreement provides in particular for the transfer to the Groupement Les Mousquetaires, which joined Teract’s merger proposal in April, of Casino sales outlets in France representing around 1.05 billion euros in turnover excluding tax.

(Written by Blandine Hénault and Nicolas Delame, edited by Tangi Salaün)

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