MONTREAL — The acquisition of the Jean Coutu Group by Metro Inc. will create a $16 billion food and drug retailer with 1,307 stores in Quebec, Ontario and News Brunswick.
Metro has agreed to purchase Coutu for $24.50 per share in cash and stock in a total deal valued at $4.5 billion ($3.6 billion U.S.). Under the Metro-Jean Coutu merger, expected to close in the first half of next year pending regulatory approvals, Coutu shareholders will receive an aggregate consideration of 75% in cash and 25% in Metro common shares.
“We’re honored to become the steward of the iconic Jean Coutu Group brand, and we intend to build on this exceptional legacy,” said Eric La Flèche, president and chief executive officer of Metro. “This transaction is attractive and compelling from a financial and commercial perspective. It is a unique opportunity to bring together each company’s expertise to better serve the growing consumer demand for healthier choices, value and convenience.”
“The Jean Coutu Group’s extensive retail network and state-of-the-art distribution center will provide us with increased scale and reach, operational efficiencies and enhanced growth potential,” La Flèche added.
Plans call for Metro’s pharmacy distribution and franchising activities, including McMahon Distributeur Pharmaceutique Inc., to be combined with those of Coutu. The drug chain will operate as a stand-alone division, continuing to be led by president and CEO François Coutu.
“The strategic and commercial fit between the two companies and their retail networks represents an opportunity for continued growth,” said François Coutu. “It will consolidate our position as the leading destination for professional services, health, beauty and wellness with a network comprised of more than 675 independent stores.”
He added, “This transaction also represents an opportunity for our shareholders to realize significant and immediate value while providing them the opportunity to participate in the future upside through continued ownership in the combined entity.”
The store count of the merged entity includes Metro’s 367 food stores in Quebec and 263 in Ontario-New Brunswick; Coutu’s 382 drug stores in Quebec and 37 in Ontario-New Brunswick; and Metro’s 184 drug stores in Quebec — including the Brunet pharmacy chain — and 74 in Ontario-New Brunswick.
“Bringing together our two highly respected and long-standing Quebec brands represents an exciting milestone in the history of the Jean Coutu Group,” commented Coutu chairman Jean Coutu. “I am confident that this combination will ensure the safeguard of our entrepreneurial vision and corporate values as well as the perennial strength of the brand.”