Wal-Mart in Bid for Chilean Supermarket Retailer

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores on Friday said it has made an all-cash offer to buy Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA, which operates the largest supermarket chain in Chile. If completed, the deal would give Wal-Mart a foothold in Chile’s highly competitive retail market. Santiago-based D&S is Chile's largest grocery chain, with more than 140 locations.

D&S said late Friday that the offer would be made within 10 days and was for 40.8 cents a share. It was made in the name of Inversiones Australes Tres Limitada, a unit of Wal-Mart.

"Moving into Chile is an important step in implementing Wal-Mart International's strategy. We continue to focus on portfolio optimization, global leverage and winning in every market," said Michael T. Duke, vice chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "A successful tender offer will give Wal-Mart the opportunity to be a significant participant in Chile, which continues to have a strong and growing economy among South American countries."

Craig Herkert, Wal-Mart International president for the Americas, said Wal-Mart and D&S share "a laser focus" on price leadership, according to the Associated Press.

"Both companies also have the same core values and business philosophies: respect for the individual, service to the customer and striving for excellence," Herkert said.

Wal-Mart said the tender offer is contingent on the approval of investors holding at least 50.01% of D&S shares. The Ibanez family that controls D&S has agreed to tender a portion of its shares, Wal-Mart said.

The purchase would reinforce Wal-Mart’s growing strength in Latin America, where it already operates stores in Argentina; Brazil; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; and Puerto Rico.

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