08/22/2012 11:08 EDT | Updated 10/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Rona franchisees say 'no, thank you' to Lowe's takeover

The franchisees who operate 164 Rona locations across Canada have written a public letter to U.S. retailer Lowe's, roundly rebuffing the home improvement chain's attempts to take over the Rona line.

Lowe's had offered $14.50 a share, which valued the Quebec-based chain at $1.76 billion Cdn. It calls its offer "friendly," yet has faced coolness from Rona's management and outright hostility from the Quebec provincial government and pension fund.

Dozens of independent merchants who operate the Rona stores themselves added their voices to the opposing chorus Wednesday, saying in a public letter they prefer the chain's current system of combining a network of independents with more than 200 corporate stores.

"We have chosen to belong to a structure that enables us to place our trust in hundreds of local Canadian suppliers we know by their names, that invests heavily in professional development and that has ethics and the local community at its core," the letter reads.

"We respectfully say 'No, thank you' as we feel that Lowe's business model is incompatible with the one with which we have individually chosen to engage." The chief executive of Lowe's, Robert Niblock, told analysts Monday that a deal wasn't "imminent" and Lowe's was still evaluating its options.

"We want to reinforce your view that it may not be a good idea for you to buy Rona, after you appeared to state your doubts about the deal on Monday, while you were announcing your financial results," the letter said.