• General
  • November 16, 2020
  • 5 minutes read

KKR, Rakuten Buy Seiyu From Walmart

  Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO, Rakuten. Photo credit: U.S.-Japan Council, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Retail giant Walmart has announced that it’s reached a…


Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO, Rakuten.
Photo credit: U.S.-Japan Councillicensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Retail giant Walmart has announced that it’s reached a deal to sell a majority stake in Seiyu, the Japanese retail chain it owns, to American private equity firm KKR and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. KKR will acquire a 65% stake in Seiyu while Rakuten will acquire a 20% stake in a deal that values the retail chain at $1.6 billion. Walmart will retain the remaining 15% stake in the retail chain that it acquired in 2008.

KKR and Rakuten will work to expand Seiyu with a focus on digitization. As the deal is structured, KKR will provide operational and financial expertise while Rakuten, which is notably the biggest e-commerce company in Japan, will provide digitization and technological expertise. Both firms plan to expand Seiyu’s options for cashless payment and the use of app-based shopping and delivery services.

From now through the completion of the acquisition, Seiyu’s Chief Executive, Lionel Desclee, will lead the company but will transition into a new role at Walmart once the deal is completed. The trio of KKR, Rakuten, and Walmart will lead a search for a new chief executive for Seiyu.

KKR’s investment in Seiyu amounts to around $1 billion. The investment came from the private equity juggernaut’s $13 billion Asia fund which it closed in October this year. It marks just the latest investment for KKR, which has recently backed other companies such as Reliance Jio, RVshare, ReliaQuest, and Zwift. Altogether, KKR manages over $220 billion in capital.

The sale of Seiyu is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

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