Walmart is selling 85% of its Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu. The retailer will retain the other 15%, while investment firm KKR takes 65% and e-commerce company Rakuten takes 20%. Walmart said it will take a non-cash loss of about $2 billion after tax as a result of the sale. The sales figure – over $1 billion – values Seiyu at 172.5 billion yen, or $1.65 billion.
The deal seems to mark the end stages of a process that began in 2002, when Walmart purchased a 6% stake in Seiyu, moving gradually to a full takeover in 2008. The Japanese market is a tempting one for foreign retailers, but Walmart hasn't been the only one to struggle with the stiff competition in that country.
Some analysts said Walmart, while failing to make much money in Japan, had done better than other foreign retailers considering it saved money-losing Seiyu from bankruptcy by cutting costs and improving private brand sales.