No. 4 Emart24 bids for No. 5 Ministop
Emart24 submitted a preliminary bid to buy Ministop Korea, the fifth largest convenience store chain in the country.
The Emart subsidiary is the No. 4 convenience store chain in Korea.
Its bid for Ministop Korea was reported by local media citing investment banking sources.
Lotte, which runs 7-Eleven, has not made an offer for the asset.
Neither Emart24 nor 7-Eleven commented on the reports.
Ministop Korea is operated by Ministop, headquartered in Chiba, Japan.
The chain has been hit hard by Covid-19 and an informal boycott of Japanese brands, which started when Japan restricted the export of key materials to Korea in 2019.
Ministop Korea runs 2,600 stores nationwide. BGF Retail's CU is the market leader, with around 14,900 stores, followed by GS Retail's GS25 with 14,700 stores, 7-Eleven with 11,000 and Emart24 with 5,800.
Ministop Korea was once the fourth largest market player but fell behind Emart24 in 2017.
The sale of the chain is being run privately and has not been confirmed by the company.
"It takes around three to four years to open 2,600 convenience stores," said a competitor. "A company that acquires Ministop Korea saves that number of years. Though the convenience store business is often said to be saturated, there are still a lot of places to open a new branch in suburban areas outside populated cities."
Ministop Korea was put on the market in 2018, but the deal was eventually scrapped by the parent company.
The price in 2018 was around 400 billion won ($360 million), but the price for the latest deal is estimated to be around 200 billion won, according to a report by Hankyung.
BY JIN MIN-JI [email@example.com]