[THE INVESTOR] Japan-based convenience store operator Ministop is set to select a preferred bidder for its local unit here, according to industry sources on Nov. 30.
Three companies -- Korean retail giants Shinsegae, Lotte and private equity firm Glenwood Investments -- are bidding to acquire 100 percent stake in Ministop Korea. The preferred bidder will be announced after consultations with deal manager Nomura Securities. Industry watchers expect the deal could be worth around 300 billion won (US$268 million) to 400 billion won.
Although Shinsegae and Lotte may struggle to increase their ranking in the convenience store business, the acquisition can help them beef up operations in the saturated market. As the end-October, Ministop has 2,534 stores, while Lotte and Shinsegae have 9,548 and 3,564 convenience stores, respectively, making them the third and fourth largest players. The top operators are CU and GS25, which have 3,109 and 13,018 outlets, respectively.
Market watchers expect Glenwood Investments, which has sufficient cash reserves, to win the bid. The PEF has shown rapid growth since former Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo’s youngest son Lee Sang-ho became the CEO in 2014. If it wins the bid, Ministop outlets are likely to continue operating under the current brand name.
Japanese retail giant Aeon Group is currently the main shareholder of the Korean operations with 76.06 percent stake, while Daesang Group and Japan-based Mitsubishi own 20 percent and 3.94 percent stake, respectively. Ministop Korea posted 1.18 trillion won in sales last year.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)