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Daiei to sell 20 pc stake in Lawson to Mitsubishi.

TOKYO, Jan. 17 Kyodo

Daiei Inc. said Monday it has agreed to sell 20% of the Daiei group's nearly 100% stake in convenience store chain Lawson Inc. to Mitsubishi Corp. for some 170 billion yen.

The sale is part of efforts by Japan's biggest supermarket chain operator to pay off debts estimated at 2.9 trillion yen on a group basis, and will follow Daiei's sale of the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Hawaii for 97 billion yen in May last year.

Planning a debt reduction of 1 trillion yen by fiscal 2001, Daiei will use proceeds from the Lawson share sale for repayment of bank loans.

As Lawson is an unlisted company, Daiei will issue to Mitsubishi bonds that are convertible into shares equal to a 20% stake in Lawson through a special-purpose company.

Mitsubishi, a leading Japanese trading house, will convert the bonds following Lawson's listing, which is expected in the near future, and become Lawson's second largest shareholder after Daiei with a 33% interest.

Daiei and Mitsubishi will also establish cooperative relations in a broad range of fields, including electronic commerce through Lawson's nationwide network of more than 7,200 convenience stores.

Daiei Chairman Isao Nakauchi said the Daiei group will develop new businesses on the back of Mitsubishi's global information network and management resources.
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Comment:Daiei to sell 20 pc stake in Lawson to Mitsubishi.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 24, 2000
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