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FamilyMart-Uny seal merger

A merger of Japan’s third and fourth-ranked convenience store operators is set to create a “third force” in Japanese retailing behind Seven & I and Aeon.

The FamilyMartUny merger terms have now been agreed and the two companies are now working towards an implementation date of September 2016.

FamilyMart will soak up smaller Uny, which operates the Circle K Sunkus convenience store network in Japan. A new holding company will be created, 30 per cent owned by Japanese trading house Itochu, which currently owns three per cent of Uny and is FamilyMart’s single largest shareholder.

Once merged, the new business will turn over around US$42.2 billion from some 18,000 stores, a network larger than current second placed Lawson and on a par with Seven Eleven Japan.

The merger has already taken some eight years to negotiate making it nine years by the time the merged entity begins trading. It was back in 2007 when FamilyMart first approached Uny, an offer initially rebuffed.

Some details have yet to be finalised – or announced – such as the future of Uny’s 230 or so general merchandise stores in what will essentially become a convenience store operator.

Uny president Norio Sako says there will be some store closures, decided “on their individual merits”.

There is also no final agreement yet on whether a single operating brand will be adopted.

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