Four companies shortlisted in Metro China sale

Germany’s Metro has shortlisted four prospective bidders for its China business, including two of Mainland China’s largest retail groups.

The Metro China sale has been in planning since last September, with formal bids invited in March as the German retail giant looks to quit the challenging market.

According to Bloomberg, quoting sources familiar with the matter, Metro AG has invited Suning Holdings, Yonghui Superstores, Wumart stores and Meicai to submit bids before a deadline of late May, early June. Some of the bids may be lodged in partnership with private equity investors.

Meicai is an unexpected inclusion in the shortlist. A local startup that acts as a conduit between farmers and restaurants, Meicai was founded by Liu Chuanjun, a local entrepreneur in 2014. According to a Bloomberg News report last October, the startup last year raised at least $600 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global Management and Hillhouse Capital, which would have valued the business then at about $7 billion.

The Metro China sale is expected to net the Germany owner about $1.5 billion. The cash-and-carry business has 95 stores and reported $3 billion last financial year.

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