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Walmart Sells Majority Stake in Seiyu, Nearly Exiting Japan

Walmart Inc is selling a majority stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to investment firm KKR and e-commerce company Rakuten for over $1 billion, after years of struggling to make money amid stiff competition. The deal, which values Seiyu at 172.5 billion yen ($1.65 billion), comes after on-off speculation about the U.S. retail giant looking to exit Japan. It is well below the 300-500 billion yen it reportedly sought a few years ago. KKR will buy 65 percent of Seiyu while Rakuten, which already has an online venture with the chain, will acquire a 20 percent stake. Walmart will retain 15 percent, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday. The world’s biggest retailer first entered the Japanese market in 2002 by buying a 6 percent stake in Seiyu, and gradually built up its stake before a full takeover in 2008. But it has struggled in Japan, like other …