Eight, not four, bidders have until June 10 to lodge non-binding bid for the cash-and-carry business.
Yonghui Superstores – part owned by Dairy Farm Group – is among at least eight bidders shortlisted by Metro AG to tended for its Chinese business.
Reuters news agency, citing multiple sources who cannot be named due to the confidential nature of the sale process, reports WeChat parent Tencent, which also has a stake in Yonghui, may yet join that bid. Private equity company Hillhouse Capital is already a part of that bid.
The Metro China business is estimated to be worth between US$1.5 and $2 billion, but with eight consortiums in the running, the price is more likely to be at the higher end of the scale.
According to Reuters, Alibaba – in partnership with Taiwanese retailer RT-Mart International – and US retail giant Walmart, which already has 400 hypermarkets in China, are also on the shortlist.
The other finalists are Suning Holdings, supermarket chain Wumart Stores, private equity group Primavera Capital, a consortium of Boyu Capital and property developer China Vanke and fresh-food delivery group Meicai.
None of the shortlisted companies commented to Reuters about the Metro China sale.
With the sale process shrouded in secrecy, there have been differing reports to date on the progress. Last month, Bloomberg reported four companies were shortlisted.
The sale process is expected to be completed in September, with the shortlisted bidders given until June 10 to lodge non-binding offers.
The Metro China cash-and-carry business operates 95 stores and reported $3 billion in sales last financial year.