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Daiei Inc. said Tuesday that investment fund Advantage Partners LLP, which had supported the supermarket chain operator’s rehabilitation as a major shareholder, has sold its entire stake to a Japanese unit of Deutsche Bank.

The German commercial bank’s Deutsche Securities Inc. will become the third-largest shareholder of Daiei after Marubeni Corp. and Aeon Co. through the acquisition of a 11.7 percent stake from Advantage Partners’ investment vehicle.

Deutsche Securities said in a statement that it will hold the stake temporarily.

Observers believe that Deutsche Securities is likely to sell the stake through stock markets in the future.

Advantage Partners was picked by the Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan in 2005 as a sponsor for Daiei’s rehabilitation and obtained a 23.4 percent stake in the supermarket chain operator. The investment fund sold half the stake at the end of 2006.

Daiei is a major supermarket operator established in 1957. Facing financial difficulty, it applied for assistance from the government-backed Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan in December 2004 for a corporate turnaround.

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