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    Wal-Mart to Buy Chilean Retailer

    The investment provides the retail giant with a major foothold in key South American market.

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. yesterday confirmed a successful tender offer to acquire Distribucion y Servicio D&S S.A. (DYS), Chile's largest food retailer.

    Wal-Mart will acquire approximately 58.2 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of D&S, including shares represented as American Depository Shares in the United States. Felipe Ibanez Scott and Nicolas Ibanez Scott will collectively retain approximately 40.1 percent of the shares of D&S, leaving approximately 1.7 percent held by the public. The tender offer period began Dec. 24 and closed at midnight Jan. 22 local Santiago time.

    "Partnering with D&S, with its strong brands and its position as Chile's largest food retailer, is an important step in implementing Wal-Mart's international strategy,” said Craig Herkert, Wal-Mart EVP and CEO of the Americas. “We continue to focus on portfolio optimization, global leverage and winning in every market."

    "This partnership will allow us to reach even higher levels of excellence in our operations and customer service,” said Enrique Ostale, CEO of D&S. “By combining our local retailing knowledge with Wal-Mart's global expertise, we will create additional growth opportunities for our company and for our associates. We will also be able to deliver to our customers a broader selection, better quality and lower prices."

    According to Herkert, the transaction will bring additional investment to Chile, not only in upgraded and new stores, but also in associate and supplier development. Wal-Mart already has a global procurement office in Santiago and currently exports Chilean products to its stores in the United States and throughout the world. "With the finalization of this transaction, we are bringing together two strong and similar cultures to create an even stronger D&S organization," he said. "We share similar structures [and] formats, and feature a similar broad range of products. More importantly, we share similar values.”

    D&S operates more than 180 stores, 10 shopping centers, and 85 PRESTO financial services branches.

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