The Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan has picked a consortium led by trading house Marubeni Corp. as the sponsor for rebuilding troubled supermarket chain Daiei Inc., sources said Tuesday.
The state-backed corporate bailout agency’s basic choice of the Marubeni-led consortium will be announced later this week when personnel-related matters are settled, the sources said.
IRCJ picked the Marubeni-led consortium, which includes Japanese fund Advantage Partners Inc., because the trading house has closer ties to the struggling retailer than its two rivals — entities led by supermarket chain Aeon Co. and by investment fund Kiacon Corp.
Marubeni is the second-largest shareholder in Maruetsu Inc., a food supermarket chain in the Daiei group. IRCJ expects the Marubeni-led consortium to promote its basic rehabilitation plan for Daiei with emphasis on Daiei’s supermarket business, they said.
The consortium, however, has not yet said who will be dispatched to Daiei to join its management. It has offered to find appropriate managers from outside, the sources said.
Once formally picked, the sponsor will get one-third of the voting-rights shares of Daiei — about 10 percent for Marubeni and 20 percent for Advantage Partners — through a third-party new share allotment to be carried out as part of a rehabilitation plan.
IRCJ will hold another one-third, and the remaining one-third will be held by ordinary shareholders.
IRCJ is also expected to dispatch outside board members to Daiei.
All three consortiums that bid for the sponsorship in a tender organized by IRCJ pledged financial assistance of a little more than 60 billion yen — the minimum amount set by the state-backed body, the sources said.
Because the amount of financial aid did not vary greatly among the three, IRCJ focused more on the contents of their rehabilitation plans in picking a sponsor, they said.
Aeon did not win out because its general merchandise stores do not fare particularly well and the company disagreed with IRCJ on a plan for opening supermarkets, the sources said.
IRCJ also feared that Kiacon might resell Daiei shares within a short time after successfully rehabilitating the retailer, they said.
The bailout agency plans to shut down and sell 53 Daiei outlets across Japan, while it aims to open about 100 new supermarkets in five years.
On Dec. 28, IRCJ decided to assist Daiei after the giant retailer turned to it for help last October.
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