Casino, the French retail giant, took over two family-controlled grocery chains in recent weeks, while Mexican family business Grupo Modelo was sold and billionaire Carlos Slim bought shares in two European telecommunications companies.
The long-running feud between Saint-Etienne-based Casino and the Moulin family, which controls the iconic Parisian department store firm Les Galeries Lafayette, finally came to an end last week, after both parties agreed on a share price for French grocery retailer Monoprix. Casino said it would pay €1.18 billion to buy the stake it doesn’t already own in Monoprix, which was partly controlled by the Moulins.
Casino also took over Brazilian retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar, which was 21% controlled by the founding Diniz family, in June after a public ownership struggle. The French group became the sole controlling shareholder of GPA by exercising a 2005 option to take charge of holding company Wilkes, which controls the Brazilian retailer. Casino named Jean-Charles Naouri as chairman of Wilkes, with the French company also appointing the majority of directors on GPA’s board.
Meanwhile, Mexico City-based Grupo Modelo, the brewer famous for its Corona and Estrella brands, was sold to Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is the world’s biggest brewer by volume.
In a statement issued on 29 June, AB Inbev, which already controlled 50% of Modelo, said it bought the remaining shares from the brewer’s founding families, including the Fernandez and Aramburuzabala families, in a deal worth $20.1 billion (€15.9 billion).
AB Inbev, which owns beer brands like Stella Artois, Budweiser and Beck’s, added that it expects the move to increase its annual revenues to $47 billion. It had sales of $39 billion in 2011.
But it hasn't just been a case of Europeans taking over Latin American firms in recent weeks. On 29 June, Mexico's Slim, who is the world’s richest man and owns mobile phone provider America Movil, increased his stake in Dutch telecommunications giant KPN to 27.7%, from 20.9%. This came just days after the tycoon bought a 21% stake in telecoms group Telekom Austria.
Also on 29 June, family-controlled carmakers BMW and Toyota announced they will expand their technology alliance. This would allow the two family businesses – German BMW is controlled by the Quandt family, while Japanese Toyota is controlled by the Toyoda family – to reduce costs and better compete in the car market worldwide, they said.