Walmart Inc. (WMT) announced definitive agreements to sell majority of stakes in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu GK to KKR & Co. Inc. (KKR) and Japan’s Rakuten, Inc. (RKUNF.PK).
Under the deals, KKR will purchase a 65 percent stake in Seiyu, while a new Rakuten subsidiary will purchase a 20 percent stake. The deal values the business at 172.5 billion Japanese yen or around $1.6 billion. Walmart will retain a 15 percent stake in Seiyu.
Seiyu will continue to have access to Walmart’s global retail best practices. 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.
The three companies will form a new Board of Directors comprised of their representatives to focus decision making locally, and plans to appoint a new CEO following the close of the transaction.
The new ownership structure enables Seiyu to take advantage of KKR, Rakuten and Walmart’s combined retail expertise and innovation as a standalone company.
Last year, Seiyu launched an ambitious strategy to accelerate growth through a more concerted focus on providing value, fresh produce and digital convenience to customers. Seiyu has already met or exceeded operational and financial goals across key areas.
The three companies together expects to bring complementary strengths to build on Seiyu’s momentum and support its efforts to become Japan’s leading omnichannel retailer.
Rakuten and Walmart already has entered into collaborations, including Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper online grocery delivery service and Rakuten Group’s partnership with Walmart that includes ebook service support in the United States.
Rakuten will further accelerate digital transformation of Seiyu and other Japanese retailers through its new subsidiary Rakuten DX Solution, leveraging its 100M+ membership base and technology.
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