Prague, Czech Republic – Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and Slovak business partner Patrik Tkac have bought a 4.63% minority stake in Casino, one of France’s leading retailers, via their Vesa Equity Investment firm, they announced on Thursday.
Casino, which owns the famous Monoprix and Franprix supermarket and convenience store brands, among others, is currently going through a wide-ranging restructuring and asset-disposal program to cut its skyrocketing debt – which stood at €2.7 billion in France.
In a statement, Daniel Kretinsky said that his new investment in Casino “reflects our conviction that it is the best positioned group on the French market and one of the European leaders best placed to respond to the profound sector transformations”.
Kretinsky’s latest investment, which makes him the retailer’s second-largest shareholder, strengthens his foothold in the European retail market – which also includes a stake in Germany’s Metro and a 40% stake in Mall Group, a major e-commerce company in Central and Eastern Europe.
A spokesman for Vesa Equity Investment said that this new entry in the French retail market has no direct connection with their investment in Germany’s Metro, where both men own a 17.52% share with options to increase it above 30%.
“They are separate cases”, spokesman Daniel Castvaj said. “There is no relation between the investment into Casino and into Metro”.
The fifth richest man in the Czech Republic according to Forbes, Kretinsky originally made his fortune in the energy sector with EPH, one of Europe’s biggest power producers. His buying spree has in recent years has spread all across Europe and in a variety of sectors.
He owns the Sparta Prague football club and also has a stake in one of France’s leading newspapers, Le Monde, among other investments in the French (Elle, Marianne) and European media sector, on top of owning a large pallet of media outlets in his native Czech Republic through Czech Media Invest.