Walmart offers to buy South Africa’s Massmart for $4b

Walmart offered more than $4 billion for South African wholesaler Massmart on Monday as the world’s largest retailer seeks to expand in fast-growing Africa.

Massmart, South Africa’s third-largest listed store group by value, owns chains such as Game and Makro and has been among the most aggressive South African outlets in expanding into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, operating in 14 countries.

There had long been speculation that Walmart would try to expand in Africa with Massmart seen as a likely target.

The two companies said Walmart had offered 148 rand per share for Massmart, valuing it at 28.9 billion rand or a premium of nearly 10 percent over the share price at Thursday’s close of 134.75 rand.

Massmart said it had granted Walmart an exclusivity period, adding there could be no certainty the discussions would lead to a formal offer being made.

“It’s a big vote of confidence for the South African retail economy and for South Africa,” said Syd Vianello, an analyst at Nedcor Securities.

“It also has lots and lots of pricing and competition implications for the South African retail industry. Walmart is the world largest retailer, it can source products cheaper than anyone else in the world.”

Massmart has nearly 290 stores, where the emphasis is on high volumes and low margins. By market capitalisation, it is South Africa’s third biggest listed store group after Shoprite Holdings and clothing retailer Truworths.

Shoprite had also been seen as a potential target for Walmart, which has over 8,600 retail units around the world.

Massmart shares are up more than 50 percent in the year to date compared to a rise of more than 36 percent in the South African retailers index and a rise of little over 2 percent in the broader market.
Source: Reuters

Ho, Sept. 27, GNA – The 2010 Population and Housing Census officials, who called at the Ho Public Transport Terminus at around midnight, to enumerate stranded passengers, had a difficult time convincing them that it was just as good being enumerated there, just as at their homes.

Mr Emmanuel Baidoo, Ho Municipal Census Officer, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that, the travellers said they would wish to get to their homes to be counted.

He said they were able to convince most of them to be counted at the station, and they cooperated with the enumerators. Mr Baidoo said the exercise had taken off smoothly and that so far all had been “well and good.”

A visit to some hotels indicated that enumerators had already been there and left questionnaires to be filled by clients arriving later. The exercise was heralded by sirens of fire tenders and tolling of church bells in town, which was un-characteristically busy, with the streets and bars having quite a number of revellers, as most of the people were still in the Asogli Yam festival celebration mood. At the grand durbar to climax the festival on Saturday, Vice President John Dramani Mahama asked Ghanaians to take the census serious and cooperate with the enumerators. At Hohoe, church bells tolled and gong-gongs were beaten in some communities to herald the exercise. 27 Sept. 10

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