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Japan's Seven & i expands 7-Eleven empire with purchase of Australian franchise

Published Nov 30, 2023 12:02AM ET Updated Nov 30, 2023 11:06AM ET
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© Reuters. The logo of Seven & I Holdings is seen at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo
 
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By Scott Murdoch, Abigail Summerville and Rocky Swift

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Japanese retail conglomerate Seven & i Holdings said on Thursday it has agreed to purchase the 7-Eleven convenience store chain in Australia for A$1.71 billion ($1.1 billion), further expanding its ownership of the brand.

The Australian convenience and petrol retailer, owned by the Withers and Barlow families, kickstarted the process to sell the business - which consists of 751 stores - earlier this year.

The deal will allow Seven & i to establish "itself as the clear industry leader in the Australian convenience store market, which has significant growth potential," the Japanese company said in a statement.

It added that it saw room for further growth by actively opening new stores in most Australian states.

Seven & i's corporate predecessor first licensed the 7-Eleven franchise from U.S.-based Southland Corp in 1973. But the Japanese conglomerate later took over the U.S. company in 1991 and now controls more than 80,000 7-Eleven convenience stores around the globe.

Its sprawling retail empire also includes Speedway gas stations in the U.S. and Ito-Yokado supermarkets in Japan.

The company has, however, come under pressure by analysts and investors to restructure and shed underperforming assets.

Earlier this year, Seven & i faced down a board challenge from U.S.-based activist fund ValueAct Capital which had urged the company to consider a spin-off of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.

Seven & i has since taken some steps to reshape its structure. This year it closed 14 Ito-Yokado supermarket stores in Japan, exited its apparel business, and completed a sale of its Sogo & Seibu department store unit.

Japan's Seven & i expands 7-Eleven empire with purchase of Australian franchise
 

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