Thailand’s Central Group buys OfficeMate, B2S parent for US$390 million

Central Retail (CRC) is to buy out COL Public Company, the parent company of Thai retail chains OfficeMate, B2S and Meb E-Books. 

The deal with COL, which is estimated at US$390 million, will add the three brands to CRC’s existing retail portfolio and “strengthen Central Retail’s hardlines group” the company said in a statement. The move is part of the group’s strategy to expand its range of retail product categories, formats and channels domestically and globally.

COL is one of Southeast Asia’s largest office supplies, books, entertainment media, lifestyle products and e-books retail business. The company’s board on Monday approved the terms of the takeover proposal which will now be put to a shareholders’ meeting. Once endorsed the company will be delisted form the Thai stock exchange.

The company was incorporated in February 1994 by the Ounjai Family which had more than 40 years experience in selling stationery and office equipment.

“We are supremely confident that this plan to buy out the business and all the shares of COL will be mutually beneficial,” said Yo Phkasub, CEO of Central Retail. “It will enable both businesses to grow sustainably, and upgrade Thai retail for long-term national economic growth.” 

According to Central Retail, the deal will help the company to expand its customer base into new groups, particularly B2B and the younger customer segment. On the other hand, COL will enjoy greater exposure for its products through CRC’s omnichannel platform.

The acquisition of 640 million COL shares is still subject to regulatory approval and expected to complete within the first quarter of next year, according to Yo.

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