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Jean Coutu shareholders OK acquisition by Metro

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MONTREAL — Jean Coutu Group shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the planned sale of the pharmacy chain to Quebec food and drug retailer Metro Inc.

Jean Coutu said Wednesday that a near-unanimous 99.9% of votes cast sanctioned the $4.5 billion (Canadian) transaction, which was well above the two-thirds ­requirement. Under the Jean Coutu acquisition deal, the company’s shareholders are being offered a combination of cash and stock worth about $24.50 per share.

“Our valued shareholders have overwhelmingly supported the Metro transaction,” Jean Coutu Group chairman Jean Coutu said in a statement. “This strong support for the transaction shows that our shareholders understand the benefits they will receive as a result of this transaction, either by realizing their investment or participating in the new combined entity, which is set to be a Canadian leader in the grocery and pharmaceutical ­industries.”

Plans call for Metro’s pharmacy distribution and franchising activities, including McMahon Distributeur Pharmaceutique Inc., to be combined with those of Jean Coutu. Metro said Jean Coutu will operate as a stand-alone division with its own management team, led by president and chief executive officer François Coutu.

“With the shareholder approval now in place, we will continue to work with Metro to secure the competition approval, with a view to closing the transaction as soon as possible in 2018, as expected,” added François Coutu.

The companies announced the Jean Coutu acquisition deal in early October. Together, Metro and Jean Coutu will form a $16 billion food and drug retailer with 1,307 stores in Quebec, Ontario and News Brunswick.

Together, Metro and Jean Coutu will form a $16 billion food and drug retailer with over 1,300 stores in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. That encompasses Metro’s 630 food stores in Quebec and Ontario-New Brunswick, Jean Coutu’s 418 drug stores in Quebec and Ontario-New Brunswick, and Metro’s 258 drug stores in Quebec (including the Brunet pharmacy chain) and Ontario-News Brunswick.


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