Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi has secured the 58.6 per cent stake in Big C Thailand from French retailer Group Casino after a short bidding process.
The controlling interest will be bought by Charoen’s holding company TCC Holdings which late last year bought the Metro Vietnam business from Germany’s Metro AG for €655 million and is the front runner to acquire the Big C Vietnam operations also.
TCC will pay Group Casino €3.1 billion ($3.46 billion) which the French company will use to pay down its debt.
Group Casino put the Big C Thailand stake on the market after receiving expressions of interest in the business when it announced it was selling Big C Vietnam and after a credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poors. It earlier said it was looking to sell both interests to the same buyer, although the future of the Vietnam business has yet to be confirmed.
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi has clearly outbid the favoured buyer, Thailand’s Central Group, which holds a 25 per cent stake in Big C Thailand. He owns a controlling interest in Berli Jucker Group, whose assets include the B’smart convenience store chain in Vietnam, the 70-strong English language bookstore Asia Books in Thailand and a long list of consumer products brands.
Berli Jucker was to buy the troubled Vietnam Metro business, but TCC took over the acquisition direct after a shareholder revolt blocked the investment.
The price paid by TCC for Big C Thailand values the business at almost $5.86 billion.