Alibaba will invest $3.6 billion in Sun Art hypermarket chain and increase its share to 72%.
Alibaba will acquire a 70.94% stake in A-RT Holdings, which is owned by the French holding company of the French family Mouliers and controls 51% of Sun Art. Alibaba already owns 21% of Sun Arts and will increase its share to 72%.
Sun Art operates a network of 484 hypermarkets in China under the Auchan and RT-Mart brands. In 2017, Alibaba has entered into a strategic alliance with Sun Art and invested 22.4 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.8 billion) in the chain. Alibaba integrated Sun Art's offline stores into its platforms - Taoxianda, Tmall, and Elie.me - and began product delivery.
Alibaba is seeking to blur the boundaries between online and offline commerce by turning traditional stores into online ordering outlets and integrating supply chains, the publication notes.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the digitalization of consumer experience and corporate operations. The acquisition of Sun Art chain shares will strengthen our vision for a new retail model. The deal offers our consumers a fully integrated experience," said Alibaba chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang.
Following the transaction's announcement, the value of Sun Art's shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange increased 18 percent to HK $ 9.4 ($1.2) per share, TechCrunch said.
Other Chinese e-commerce companies are taking a similar approach to integrate offline and online purchases, the publication notes. For example, JD, Alibaba's main competitor, has formed alliances with supermarket chains Yonghui and Walmart.
Photo credit: depositphotos.com.