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Walmart buys stake in Japanese partner

March 13, 2021 at 11:10 a.m.
This June 1 file photo shows a Walmart store in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Walmart Inc. is buying a small stake in Japanese e-commerce and entertainment company Rakuten Inc., which recently bought 20% of Walmart's Japanese unit Seiyu.

In a bid to raise $2.2 billion in capital, Rakuten said in a news release Friday that it will issue 211.7 million shares valued at $10.50 apiece.

Walmart will buy 14.5 million shares, or 0.9%, the Bentonville-based retailer said in its own news release Friday. That's an investment of about $153 million in a company Walmart has partnered with for several years.

Japan Post Holdings Co. will buy an 8.3% stake, and Chinese social media company Tencent Holdings Ltd. is buying a 3.65% stake.

Judith McKenna, who heads Walmart International, said the company is "making strategic equity investments to enable Walmart to benefit from future growth in a changing global retail environment."

Walmart and Rakuten teamed up in 2018 to start an online grocery delivery service in Japan and to sell e-books and e-readers in Walmart's U.S. stores. Walmart has also worked with Tencent, using its messaging app for Walmart's grocery delivery service in China.

Walmart shares rose $1.99, or 1.5%, to close Friday at $134.12.

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