OTTAWA — The home improvement retailer Lowe’s on Monday abandoned its $1.8 billion hostile bid for its Canadian competitor Rona, avoiding a political showdown with the government in Quebec.
Rona and Lowe’s began apparently friendly discussions as early as July 2011. That led to an offer in December that was rejected by Rona but not disclosed by either company at the time. On Monday, Lowe’s offered no reason for its decision.
Both the Liberal Party and the separatist Parti Quebecois spoke out against a deal, despite commitments from Lowe’s to maintain a Canadian head office in Quebec and cultivate Canadian suppliers.
Lowe’s continued to promote what it saw as benefits.
‘‘A combination of Lowe’s and Rona makes business sense and would create significant value for all stakeholders,’’ Lowe’s said. ‘‘It is unfortunate that the Rona board of directors did not recognize the important economic and commercial benefits of this proposal.’’
Canada’s real estate and mortgage markets largely escaped the turmoil that hit the United States in 2008, making expansion in Canada attractive. Target is opening its first Canadian stores, and last week Nordstrom said it would open its first four locations in Canada.