• Kyodo

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Daiei Inc. and its main creditor banks have narrowed the list of potential buyers of the troubled retailer’s businesses here to three U.S. firms out of five candidates, sources said Friday.

The three final candidates are Ripplewood Holdings LLC, Colony Capital LLC and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., they said.

Under a plan to reorganize its Fukuoka operations, Daiei will sell the Fukuoka Dome stadium and adjacent Sea Hawk Hotel and Resort. It has yet to decide whether to sell its professional baseball team, the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, the sources said.

They said the other two candidates — U.S. investment fund Lone Star Group and Japanese private equity firm MKS Partners Ltd. — have apparently pulled out of the bidding. Daiei will sell the stadium and adjacent hotel to help cut its massive interest-bearing debts. The five candidates put themselves in line for the bid as of May.

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