Lotte’s Ministop deal falls through

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Lotte’s Ministop deal falls through

The sale of convenience store chain Ministop fell apart as potential bidder Lotte and the Japan-based convenience franchise failed to agree on a price.

The AEON Group of Japan, the largest shareholder of Ministop Korea, filed a notice on Monday that it has suspended the sale process to sell its full stake in the unit. The AEON Group owns a 76.06 percent share while Daesang Group, a Korean food conglomerate, has a 20 percent stake. Japan’s Mitsubishi holds 3.94 percent.

Ministop Korea also notified its workers of the suspension, vowing to keep searching for a potential suitor.

Executives from AEON and Ministop visited Seoul over the weekend to meet Shin Dong-bin, chairman of Lotte Group, which also owns 7-Eleven in Korea.

The retail giant has been considered the likeliest buyer since it reportedly offered the highest price of around 400 billion won ($357.3 million).

Other competitors include Shinsegae, which owns convenience store franchise Emart24, and Glenwood Private Equity, a local private equity firm.

Ministop opened a bidding process back in November, but delayed selecting a preferred bidder.

The introduction of a government regulation banning the opening of convenience stores within 80 meters (262 feet) of another store led to Ministop requesting a higher price, according to local media outlets.

Ministop’s sale garnered attention from the beginning because it could impact the highly-competitive convenience store chain market in Korea.

Ministop operates 2,500 stores across the country. If Lotte had succeeded in acquiring Ministop, it could have increased its number of stores from 9,500 to 12,000.

CU runs the most stores, at 13,109, while the second player is GS25 with 13,018.

Emart24 ranks fourth with 3,564 stores.

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