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Amazon strengthens partnership with French food retailer Casino Group

The e-commerce company announced that it is deepening its ties with French food retailer, leading to speculation from investors that are larger deal could be in the pipeline.

US-based Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and French-based Casino Guichard Perrachon (Casino Group) (EPA:CO) have strengthened their existing partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers across its stores and stocking more of the French company’s products on its e-commerce site.

The decision to deepen their partnership comes shortly after an earlier agreement was struck between Amazon and Casino Group’s higher end supermarket chain Monoprix in Paris, with investors speculating that talks between the two companies could lead to M&A activity in the future.

‘This announcement represents a new step in strengthening Casino’s omnichannel strategy to always be a little more in the heart of consumers’ lives,’ Casino Group CEO Jean-Charles Naouri said.

Amazon eyes European food footprint

Amazon declined to comment on market speculation, but after the company acquired US-based food retailer Whole Foods last year, investors believe that it could look to expand its footprint by buying a European food retailer.

The strengthening of ties between Amazon and Casino comes at a time when French food retailer has begun disposing of assets in a bid to reduce its debt to help calm investors concerns over its finances.

Casino share price slides following Amazon partnership extension

Despite the news, Casino Group’s share price fell by 0.5% on Tuesday morning, driven by Standard & Poor’s decision to slash its credit rating from BB Negative to BB Negative Outlook, putting the company closer to junk status.

Earlier this week, in a bid to address investors concerns about the strength of its balance sheet, Casino Group announced that it would sell 12 of its hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to Apollo Global Management in a deal valued at €470 million.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s share price has climbed more than 1.38% on Tuesday, as investors grow excited about the prospect of the e-commerce company strengthening presence in France, its third largest market in Europe.

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