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Retail

Mexico's Femsa To Buy Swiss Store Operator Valora

Mexican bottler and retailer company Fomento Economico Mexicano (Femsa) on Tuesday offered to buy Swiss kiosk operator Valora in a CHF 1.1 billion (€1.1 billion) all-cash deal as part of its push to expand in Europe.

Femsa, which had total sales of more than $27 billion (€26.1 billion) last year, made an offer of CHF 260.00 per share, a premium of 52% to Valora's last closing share price, Valora said in a statement.

Valora said its board has recommended shareholders to accept the offer, which was supported by its largest individual shareholder with a roughly 17% stake.

Ernst Peter Ditsch is Valora's largest shareholder, with a 16.91% stake as of 4 July, according to Refinitiv data.

Ditsch became Valora's largest shareholder when Valora acquired his family's Ditsch/Brezelkönig pretzel vending firms in 2012, granting Ditsch 635,599 shares as part of that deal.

Speed Up Growth

The Femsa deal includes plans to speed up growth in Switzerland, Germany and other European countries where Valora operates convenience stores and food service, Valora said.

Credit Suisse is advising Femsa and is its offer manager, while J.P. Morgan is advising Valora on the deal.

The transaction is to be funded with Femsa's available cash on hand, the two companies said. The offer, which remains subjected to regulatory approval, is expected to close in end-September or early October.

Shares in Valora traded 50% higher at CHF 256.50 shortly after the market opened.

"As the largest convenience store chain in Mexico, FEMSA offers Valora good opportunities for pooling resources, expanding its network throughout Europe and exchanging know-how (digitalisation)," Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Gian Marco Werro said in a note, adding the Swiss company had been seen as a possible takeover target for major Swiss grocery retailers Migros and Coop and a counterbid should not be excluded.

Vontobel analyst Pascal Furger said Valora had "struggled to create value for shareholders for several years" and the tender marked a good move for both shareholders as well as the firm.

Read More: Swiss Inflation Hits 29-Year High Of 3.4% In June

News by Reuters, edited by by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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