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.