French retail conglomerate Auchan has made a EUR735 million (£481.6 million) bid to take full control of La Rinascente, Italy's biggest retailer.
Analysts expect shareholders to accept the offer for the Italian group, in which Auchan already has a significant stake. They suspect parts of La Rinascente that offer few synergies with Auchan's existing businesses will be sold off.
Auchan and the Agnelli family investment vehicle, Ifil, have been partners in La Rinascente since 1997.
The buy-out is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Privately-owned Auchan, which generates sales in excess of US$23.19 billion (£15.52 billion), is controlled by the Mulliez family.
La Rinascente achieves annual sales of approximately US$5 billion (£3.34 billion).