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Buyers sought for Metro China business

German wholesaler Metro has called for bids for its China operations.

The firm was reported last September to be considering exiting its Metro China retail business as part of a plan to focus on wholesaling activities worldwide. The sale is partially in response to the emerging strength of e-commerce in China.

According to industry insiders, Metro is seeking a deal in a deal that would value the business from US$1.5–2 billion, covering 95 stores in the territory as well as real estate assets in several major cities. Some observers have estimated the Metro China business to be worth up to $3 billion.

Several local retail chains and private equity firms are expected to be among potential bidders, although none of the named firms responded to requests for comment for a Reuters report. E-commerce giant Alibaba has previously held talks with Metro over a possible stakeholding in the business and tencent has been linked to a bid.

First-round bids should emerge next month.

In related news, the firm announced the opening of a new warehouse in Yangon last week, aiming to serve local professional customers in the fast-growing hospitality and tourism sectors in the region. Metro Myanmar will not run wholesale stores but provide a virtual shopping experience for customers through its e-commerce and delivery systems.

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