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Shareholders of Seiyu Ltd. approved the retailer’s plan to come under the wing of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of the United States, allowing the world’s largest retailer to take a stake of up to 66.7 percent in Seiyu.

At a shareholders’ meeting in a Tokyo hotel, 411 shareholders approved six proposals, including giving Arkansas-based Wal-Mart the right to acquire Seiyu’s newly issued shares and to appoint executives.

Seiyu and Wal-Mart agreed last month on a wide-ranging tieup, giving Wal-Mart the right to acquire a stake in Seiyu of up to 33.4 percent by the end of 2002, 50.1 percent by the end of 2005 and 66.7 percent by the end of 2007.

Apart from its U.S. operations, Wal-Mart operates stores in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Britain.

Seiyu will issue shares to a Wal-Mart subsidiary for 6 billion yen, giving it a 6.1 percent stake in Seiyu.

The capital affiliation will give Wal-Mart a long-sought foothold in Japan’s retail market, while Seiyu, struggling under interest-bearing debts totaling 605.5 billion yen as of the end of August, hopes to improve its financial standing.

Seiyu plans to speed up the closure of unprofitable shops, and Wal-Mart will send a team of specialists to advise on measures to revive Seiyu’s management.

Seiyu President Masao Kiuchi, answering a question from a shareholder at the meeting, said decisions on sending Wal-Mart executives to Seiyu will not be made before December.

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