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US buyer for Korea’s Kim’s Club

A US private equity giant is the successful bidder for South Korean hypermarket chain Kim’s Club, part of the fashion and retail conglomerate E-Land Group.

Named the preferred bidder for Kim’s Club, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) will now discuss with E-Land the acquisition of the right to run the 37 hypermarkets as well as the group’s logistics centres, according to Business Korea.

KKR focuses on online-to-offline (O2O) retail business investment, and with its bid for Kim’s Club seeks to create synergy with its previous investment in the retail industry, both online and offline, says an E-Land spokesman.

As Kim’s Club is located in E-Land Retail’s department stores and outlets as a food market, the two companies are expected to maintain the partnership. Moreover, KKR is continuing talks for a possible sale of the Gangnam branch of the New Core Department Store.

E-Land and KKR plan to conduct due diligence and set the selling price before signing a final contract in early May. The sell-off of Kim’s Club is expected to be complete within the first half of the year.

E-Land is seeking between 700 billion to one trillion won (US$598-$854 million) for the rights to the hypermarket chain, according to wire service Yonhap.

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