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New World Department latest China retailer to go private with buyout plan

[HONG KONG] New World Department Store China Ltd said its parent firm plans to take it private for HK$934.5 million (S$165.8 million), so that it can better tackle a challenging operating environment and take risks in implementing strategy.

It is the latest plan for a Chinese retailer to relinquish its stock listing as firms in the sector restructure due to a reduction in foot traffic, a consumer shift to online shopping and the growth of large format shopping malls.

New World Development Co Ltd, which owns 72.29 per cent of New World Department Store, is offering HK$2 apiece for all the shares it does not already own.

That represents a 50.4 per cent premium to the previous close, the department store operator said a filing to the Hong Kong bourse late on Tuesday.

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Its shares climbed nearly 46 per cent to HK$1.94, the highest since July 24, 2015.

In other similar deals, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd led a US$2.6 billion offer to take department store operator Intime Retail Group Co Ltd private.

A private equity-led consortium has also offered to buy Belle International Holdings Ltd in a deal valuing the shoe retailer at US$6.8 billion.

New World Department Store listed in 2007. It operates 40 department stores and two shopping malls in China.