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Japanese Retailer Aeon May Buy 15% Stake in Daiei

Aeon has finalized a deal to take a 15% stake in supermarket chain Daiei, a move that will create Japan's biggest retail group, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The deal, to be announced by the two companies on Friday, will include Aeon's purchase of a 20% holding in Daiei's grocery store subsidiary Maruetsu, the paper said.

Acquisition-hungry Aeon won exclusive rights in October to discuss buying a 15% stake in Daiei and a 20% stake in Maruetsu.

Responding to the report, Aeon said in a statement that no formal decisions had been made.

Aeon, which will surpass Seven & I Holdings in size with the deal, this week cut its operating profit estimate for the business year ended Feb. 20 to 190 billion yen ($1.63 billion), below market expectations, after a mild winter hurt sales of seasonal goods.

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