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April 7, 2011 1:47 PM

Clifford Chance Advising Carrefour on Dia Store Spin-Off

Posted by Brian Baxter

Clifford Chance has been retained by Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart, to advise on the planned spin-off of the Dia discount stores.

In March Carrefour announced a plan to spin off Dia via a listing on the Madrid stock exchange in an effort to streamline operations and return capital to shareholders. The French retail giant calls Dia the world's third-largest hard-discount chain.

Clifford Chance M&A partners Thierry Schoen and Javier Garcia de Enterria, capital markets partner Yolanda Azanza, tax partner Eric Davoudet, real estate counsel Atusa Family, and corporate counsel Dessislava Savova are leading a team from the Magic Circle firm in Paris and Madrid advising Carrefour on the Dia spin-off. (Dia is headquartered in Madrid.)

The firm represented suburban Paris–based Carrefour last November on the $1.2 billion sale of its hypermarket business in Thailand to Big C, an affiliate of France's Casino Group.

In recent days, several private equity firms including Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, and KKR have approached Carrefour and attempted to persuade the retailer to halt its planned listing for Dia and instead sell the discount chain outright, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Should Dia be sold to one of those private equity suitors, the unit could fetch a price of at least $4.26 billion, Reuters reports.

Carrefour is also planning to spin off a 25 percent stake in its European property company. Franck Tassan serves as Carrefour's group general counsel.

The New York Times recently reported that France is seeing a surge in deal activity and foreign investments. Earlier this month, French media conglomerate Vivendi acquired the country's second-largest mobile phone operator SFR from Vodafone for $11.3 billion, while French specialty chemicals company Rhodia was acquired by Belgium's Solvay Chemicals in a $4.8 billion deal.

France's economic minister is Christine Lagarde, a former chairman of Baker & McKenzie.

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