Alibaba said it would team up with the founder of China’s Intime Retail to take the department-store operator private, as the e-commerce giant seeks to extend its online dominance into physical stores, The Wall Street Journal reports. China’s largest online retailer and Intime’s founder, Shen Guojun, will pay as much as 19.8 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$2.6 billion) to take the Hong Kong-listed department-store chain private, Alibaba said in a statement Tuesday. Alibaba already has a 28% stake in Intime from a US$692 million investment it made in 2014; its shareholding would rise to about 74% after the deal. The deal requires approval from Intime shareholders and from a court in the Cayman Islands, where Intime is incorporated, an Alibaba spokeswoman said. The announcement furthers Alibaba’s foray into physical stores.
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