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Apr 23, 2018

Metro's Jean Coutu acquisition gets Competition Bureau's conditional approval

Pedestrians walk past a Jean Coutu pharmacy in Montreal

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OTTAWA - The Competition Bureau of Canada has approved Metro Inc.'s (MRU.TO) purchase of the Jean Coutu Group (PJCa.TO) provided it sells 10 pharmacies in eight Quebec communities.

The federal agency says the communities would face reduced competition if the company doesn't divest the assets in Amos, Berthierville, Baie St-Paul, Carleton-sur-Mer, Coaticook, Disraeli, La Baie and La Sarre.The 10 stores include nine operating under the Brunet banner and one Jean Coutu.

It says Metro must make "commercially reasonable efforts to achieve the sales."

The two Quebec retailing giants announced in October the $4.5-billion transaction that was approved by Jean Coutu shareholders in November.

The food and pharmacy industries have faced intensifying competition from other retailers including global giants Walmart, Costco and Amazon, which entered the grocery space with its purchase of Whole Foods.