Report: Csányi planned to buy Tesco, Orbán stopped him


Hungarian OTP Bank group owner Sándor Csányi was planning to purchase the European portfolio of Tesco, but Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dissuaded him in order to maintain a good relationship with his political ally in Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, according to a report published by Hungarian weekly Figyelő today.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported that the Hungarian government initially welcomed the idea of Csányi investing in Tesco, however, after the Polish elections put the Law and Justice PiS party in power, Orbán recommended the businessman not bid for the company, as he did not want relations to deteriorate with Kaczynski, the former PM of Poland and current chairman of PiS, who is siding with Orbán on the migration issue.

In its article, Figyelő implied that business people in Poland would be interested in buying Tesco and that Orbán did not want to interfere with this process. 

According to the paper, Csányi had even set up a team to work on the acquisition of Tesco Europe, which operates the chain’s stores in the area of the V4 countries, for approximately HUF 1 trillion. 

The paper says that if OTP bought Tesco Europe, approximately 8-10 million new card owners and residential clients could be added to the bank’s portfolio, thanks to the banking and commercial synergies generated by the acquisition.

The weekly said that the Hungarian government has not yet responded to its queries about the proposed bid or Orbánʼs alleged involvement.

During his weekly press conference a week ago, Hungaryʼs Cabinet Chief János Lázár called it a “serious problem” that there is no majority Hungarian player in the domestic retail sector.


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