PARIS – Luxembourg-based investment firm Blue Partners, controlled by U.S.-based Colony Capital, has sold its stake in France’s Carrefour SA, according to market watchdog AMF.

Blue Partners had joined with Groupe Arnault in 2007 to invest in Carrefour, and combined, the partners most recently held a 14.8 percent share of the retailer.

The sale of Blue Partners’ 5.1 percent stake, on Jan. 20, to an undisclosed buyer or buyers, is likely to give greater power to Galeries Lafayette’s controlling Moulin family. While the Moulin family was already the number-one shareholder on paper, with 11.5  percent, it was second after Groupe Arnault and Blue Partners’ combined stake, as they acted as a block.

At Carrefour’s current share price, Blue Partners’ stake had an estimated value of 910 million euros, or $977 million at current exchange.

Groupe Arnault, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault’s investment vehicle, and Blue Partners, had initially bought a 9.1 percent stake in Carrefour in 2007, which they subsequently increased to 14.8 percent.

With Blue Partners’ exit, Groupe Arnault maintains an unchanged 8.74 percent stake in Carrefour. Brazilian billionaire Abílio Diniz, through his investment vehicle Península Participações, owns 8.05 percent of the retailer, the world’s second-largest after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and is its third-largest shareholder.

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