Apollo Adds French Stores to Grocery Assets

The $529 million acquisition of 32 stores from Casino Group comes less than a week after the private-equity firm bought Smart & Final.
Matthew HellerApril 23, 2019

Private-equity firm Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire a portfolio of 32 grocery stores from France’s Casino Group for 470 million euros ($529 million), extending a recent series of grocery business acquisitions.

The stores include 12 Géant Casino hypermarkets and 20 Monoprix and Casino supermarkets, located primarily outside of Paris.

The acquisition, which was announced Monday, came less than a week after Apollo agreed to buy back Smart & Final Stores in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. The firm previously acquired Smart & Final in 2007 before selling it to Ares Management for $975 billion in 2012.

Apollo returned to the grocery business in 2016 when it bought The Fresh Market, a regional chain based in Greensboro, N.C., for $1.36 billion.

Casino is run and controlled by French billionaire Jean-Charles Naouri. As The Financial Times reports, it “has been selling off assets in response to concerns about the group’s debt levels and its ability to generate cash. In its home market of France, a highly-competitive market for food retail continues to bite Casino and its competitors Carrefour, Auchan and E. Leclerc.”

The sale of the 32 stores to Apollo is part of Casino’s plan to reach 2.5 billion euros in non-core asset disposals by the the first quarter of 2020. It raised the target from 1.5 billion euros in March.

Apollo cashed out of another grocery chain, Sprouts Farmers Markets, for $2 billion in 2015, making 10 times its original investment of $200 million.

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