STORES | Staff Reporter, Japan

Walmart sells 85% stake in Seiyu to Rakuten and KKR

KKR will buy a 65% stake in the grocery chain, whilst Rakuten will get 20%.

Walmart is selling a 85% stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to Rakuten and American investment firm KKR in a deal valuing the business at $1.6b (¥172.5b), according to a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, KKR will buy a 65% stake in Seiyu, and Rakuten will acquire a 20% stake, through a newly created subsidiary focused on retailer digital transformation. Walmart will retain a 15% stake in Seiyu.

KKR and Rakuten's plans for Seiyu include an accelerated investment in digital channels to facilitate app-based shopping, payment and delivery services, as well as an introduction of new options for cashless payment.

Seiyu CEO Lionel Desclee will continue to lead the business through a transition period, after which he will take on a new role within Walmart. A new board will be formed, comprised of representatives from KKR, Rakuten and Walmart, and they will appoint a new CEO after the transaction closes.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

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