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The state-backed Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan has weeded out foreign-led consortiums from its list of candidates to sponsor struggling retailer Daiei Inc., according to sources.

The IRCJ revealed its decision Friday to the three groups that made the cut: supermarket chain Aeon Co., trading company Marubeni Corp. and turnaround specialist Kiacon Corp. The consortiums led by foreign firms — U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., grain trader Cargill Inc. and investment firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC — failed to make it.

Supermarket chain Ito-Yokado Co., which teamed up with major firms that include trading house Mitsui & Co. and real estate agency Mitsui Fudosan Co., was also left out of the selection, they said.

The corporate bailout agency is scheduled to finally decide on a sponsor in March, after examining each of their detailed rehabilitation proposals, they said.

IRCJ plans to acquire a 33.4 percent equity stake in Daiei to promote the rehabilitation of the retailer with a sponsor company. It decided to assist Daiei in late December after the struggling firm turned to IRCJ for help in October.

Among the three consortiums, Aeon applied for Daiei sponsorship jointly with technology firm Kyocera Corp. and emphasized its previous achievements in helping resuscitate retailer Mycal Corp. and other beleaguered firms.

Marubeni was initially in partnership with Ripplewood. But it switched its partner to Japanese fund Advantage Partners Inc. for the second round of applications. The consortium said it would abide by IRCJ’s basic plan of turning around Daiei with emphasis on its supermarket business.

Kiacon teamed up with trading firm Itochu Corp. and presented its plan to establish a new retail business model.

IRCJ plans to shut down and sell 53 of 263 existing Daiei outlets, mainly general merchandise stores, and open about 100 new supermarkets in five years.

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