Amazon seeks partner in move to open high-street stores in France

Amazon, the US online retail giant, is looking to open high street stores in France and is sniffing around for a French retail partner for its rapidly expanding grocery business, media reports said.

Amazon seeks partner in move to open high-street stores in France
Photo: AFP
The firm is reported to be looking for 15 locations for its brick and mortar shops, mostly in the Paris area, and aims to open them within the next two years, Le Monde said.
The paper said the shops would be based on the company's Amazon Go physical stores – which allow completely check-out free shopping by customers using smartphones – which it is currently testing out on its employees at its headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon has not officially confirmed its plans for France, but Le Monde and other media report that it also approached French distributors with a view to forging partnerships or making an acquisition in France.
Such moves would be in line with its aggressive expansion into the physical retail space in recent years which this summer saw it acquire the US grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
But Amazon’s approaches to French retailers got a negative reaction.
“They approached everyone but did not receive any positive feedback,” one distributor told Le Monde.
One of those reportedly approached was the highly profitable Monoprix retail chain, whose parent company is Groupe Casino, but it was told that Casino had no intentions of selling.
Amazon also reportedly approached the supermarket chains Intermarché et Système U and got a similarly negative reply there.
Thierry Desouches, a spokesman for Système U, said he doubted any French distributor would partner with Amazon.
“It would be like letting the wolf into the sheep pen,” he told told BFMTV.
Amazon continues to expand operations in France with President Emmanuel Macron inaugurating a new logistics centre in Amiens this week, which will employ 500 permanent staff.
The internet giant has also announced it will open a 142,000 delivery warehouse  in Bretigny-sur-Orge, which will serve the Paris region. The company says some 1,000 permanent jobs will be created.


France’s Mediawan buys majority stake in Brad Pitt’s Plan B

French media company Mediawan has bought a majority stake in US film star Brad Pitt's production house Plan B Entertainment, it said Friday, in a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million.

France's Mediawan buys majority stake in Brad Pitt's Plan B

Plan B, co-founded by Pitt in the early 2000s with his then-wife Jennifer Aniston has three best picture Oscar winners to its name: “The Departed”, “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Moonlight”.

The deal “marks the deployment of Mediawan into the American market,” the French company said in a press release which did not say how much the deal was worth.

The Financial Times reported the deal had valued Plan B Entertainment at more than $300 million.

“Cinema is becoming international. Talents are emerging all over the world,” Pitt said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. “For our future projects, we have to look outside the United States.”

With Mediawan “we have the same conception of how to produce films and series,” he added.

In a press release Mediawan CEO Pierre-Antoine Capton said the deal was “an exceptional opportunity to be able to develop Mediawan alongside Plan B, the most beautiful independent production company in the US.”

Founded in 2015 Mediawan produces and distributes films, series and streaming shows and has recently snapped up several production houses across Europe.

It produced the hit Netflix show “Call My Agent.”