Alibaba to take control of China’s top hypermarket chain in $3.6bn
Chinese tech titan Alibaba Group will take control of leading supermarket chain Sun Art Retailing.
According to the details, Alibaba will invest about $3.6 billion to double its stake in Sun Art Retail Group, taking control of China’s largest hypermarkets.
The tech giant aims to uplift its offline shopping services in China’s booming retail market.
Alibaba will raise its direct and indirect stake in the grocery chain to about 72% by acquiring equity from Auchan Retail International SA, then make a general offer to shareholders to buy out the rest of Sun Art.
However, the company is already China’s biggest e-commerce player and owns ‘Taobao’, the world’s largest online marketplace.
Sun Art is currently controlled by a unit of Mulliez family investments – one of the richest families in France.
Furthermore, operator of hypermarket brands Auchan and RT-Mart, Sun Art has 481 hypermarkets and three mid-size supermarkets in China.
Alibaba formed a strategic alliance with the supermarket chain in 2017 to digitize its shops and invested $22.4 billion in the company at the time.
Also, the online groceries segment has leapt to the forefront during Covid-19 when shoppers shunned restaurants and physical stores.
Alibaba’s initial moves into physical retail closely followed by WeChat-operator Tencent, which has itself invested in brick-and-mortar chains such as Yonghui Superstores Co.
JD now also operates its own thriving groceries business.
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