“We will never sell Auchan.” This statement in the columns of The voice of the North Saturday October 2 is signed Barthélémy Guislain, president of the Mulliez family association (AFM), owner of Auchan. The founder of Auchan himself, Gérard Mulliez, entrusts the regional daily to be “revolt” at the idea of letting his empire be swallowed up by the big competitor Carrefour.
No, it’s no… for the takeover or the merger. On the other hand, reconciliations are not impossible. The president of the AFM is willing to discuss alliance or partnership, “as I always have”, he said. A desire for openness on the part of the distribution group, aware of no longer being able to live in a closed ecosystem. It must respond to the challenges of the moment: ecological transition, digitization, etc.
But in the background, there is above all the governance of the structure. The Mulliez family association is a family galaxy of some 800 cousins and grand-cousins who find themselves at the head of some 150 brands such as Décathlon, Boulanger, Leroy-Merlin, Kiabi … all under the very watchful eye of the patriarch, Gérard Mulliez , now 90 years old.
A common entity, without necessarily talking about a merger, would weigh a little more than 100 billion euros in turnover. Duplicates would be evident in terms of common stores and structures. It would be difficult to avoid social damage in this leading job creator in France and eighth in Europe.
But the discussions exist. The family shareholders of Auchan have spoken with Carrefour, led by the young and very ambitious Alexandre Bompard who has so far missed the takeover of Casino but succeeded in marrying FNAC with Darty, culture with household appliances. A whole other adventure that was not won in advance either.