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Just a week after selling its Argentinian retail business, Walmart is selling most of its Japanese retail business Seiyu to Rakuten Inc. and KKR & Co., a transaction valued at approximately $1.6 billion.

Under the agreement, Walmart will retain a 15 per cent minority ownership, while Rakuten will take 20 per cent and KKR will become the majority owner with 65 per cent of the business.

Walmart first invested in Seiyu in 2002 and took it private in 2008. But like many other foreign retail giants, it didn’t succeed in Japan’s notoriously difficult and low-margin supermarket space, and struggled to compete with local rivals such as Aeon Co. and Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

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