April 29, 2016 / 3:22 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-CNova jumps as Casino touts delisting for e-commerce firm

(Adds share performance, details throughout)

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal

SAO PAULO, April 29 (Reuters) - Shares in CNova NV jumped on Friday on speculation that controlling shareholder Casino Guichard Perrachon SA is considering taking the e-commerce retailer private as the best option for a turnaround.

Under the terms of the plan, Casino would buy out minority shareholders in CNova, which would subsequently be split into three separate units that Casino’s units based in France, Brazil and Colombia would absorb, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

About 6 percent of CNova’s 441 million shares are publicly traded on the Nasdaq market, making it relatively cheap for Casino to delist the unit, said the source, who requested anonymity because the plan remains under discussion. Only 6 percent of CNova stock is in the hands of smaller shareholders, valuing a delisting before premium payouts at $100 million.

CNova added as much as 4 percent to $3.52 on the Nasdaq exchange in early Friday trading. That came on top of a 12 percent gain on Thursday, when management unveiled that a merger of the company’s Brazilian unit with Via Varejo SA, Casino’s appliance and consumer electronics unit in the country, was under review.

Casino, based in the French city of St-Etienne, took Cnova public in November 2014 in an effort to create an e-commerce pure-play that could have the ability to fund growth of its direct-sales business and marketplaces.


Shares in Casino gained 0.5 percent to 52.51 euros.

According to the source, Casino could pay for the buyout with the partial use of proceeds from the $1.1 billion sale of a Vietnamese grocery chain to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Holding Co, which was announced on Friday. Casino has this year raised almost $4.5 billion from asset sales in Asia to reduce debt.

The Paris-based media office for Casino did not have an immediate comment.

CNova has a market value of about $1.46 billion, with between 40 percent to 45 percent being attributed to the Brazilian business, the source added.

The IPO priced CNova at $7 a share, helping the French retailer raise a net $190 million at the time. The price came in below Casino’s target of $12.50 to $14 for the stock.

That year, rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd of China broke a global record after fetching $25 billion in an initial public offering. (Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Editing by W Simon and Chizu Nomiyama)

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