Funds to take active management role
Investment firms Groupe Arnault and Colony Capital have acquired almost 10 per cent of Carrefour - the world's second largest retailer - and will take an active role in its management.

Deutsche Bank said: 'We don't know yet if their stake comes from the market or from the family, but bear in mind that in the past 3 weeks, 15 per cent of Carrefour shares have been traded on the market, which fuelled market talk of a potential bid.'

Colony Capital and Groupe Arnault said they made the 'strategic and industrial' purchase through a 50:50 venture and plan to work together with the controlling Halley family and management. However, the stake is unlikely to lead to a bid, according to analysts.

The investment groups bought 10 per cent of the world 's fourth largest hotel company Accor three years ago and own stakes in several leisure/hotel companies in the US, Asia and Europe.

Deutsche Bank added: 'It is very important to note what Colony's history with Accor has been. It bought a 1 billion stake in the company and has been a very active shareholder. It has effectively forced Accor to crystallise the value of its property assets, selling 1.63 billion of property assets on which it wasn't earning good returns.

'For Carrefour, the most obvious and immediate route to crystallisation is selling the shopping mall assets that surround many of its hypermarkets.'