Amazon taps Casino over Brazil electronics chain on Latin America advance

Amazon.com Inc and Casino Guichard Perrachon SA are negotiating a deal in Brazil either partnering or selling the French retailer’s local appliance and electronics chain, a source familiar with the talks said on Tuesday.


Reuters

The talks concerning Casino’s Via Varejo chain, which includes one of Brazil’s largest e-commerce operations and more than 900 stores in the country, would accelerate Amazon’s previously tepid advances into Latin America’s largest market.

They come as the e-commerce giant and Casino have struck an agreement to sell groceries from the French group’s upmarket Monoprix through Amazon.

The Brazil deal could be structured as a partnership in that model or as an outright sale of Via Varejo, the source said.

News of the talks sent preferred shares in GPA SA, Casino’s Brazilian supermarket chain that owns Via Varejo, up 5 percent to 67.28 reais in Sao Paulo.

GPA, Via Varejo and Amazon in Brazil all declined to comment.

GPA had put Via Varejo up for sale two years ago but the company attracted little interest as its then-traditional infrastructure kept costs stubbornly high and dragged on profits. It has since expanded its e-commerce operations.

Units of Via Varejo, a blend of preferred and common stock, rose 4.9 percent in early morning trading in Sao Paulo, to 30.43 reais.

Amazon has waded slowly into Brazil’s complex and highly competitive online retail market, starting with e-book sales in 2012, adding physical books two years later and offering third-party sales of electronics in October.

Reuters reported in recent month that the world’s largest online retailer has been preparing to ramp up its Brazilian presence, courting local suppliers of appliances and electronics and eyeing a large warehouse outside of Sao Paulo.