South Korean retailer Lotte Shopping is looking to take a controlling stake in Times, a Chinese supermarket operator, the Financial Times reported. A Lotte spokesman said the company was looking to expand in China and that buying Times “could be one of the options.” He declined to give further details but it has been reported that Lotte might pay as much as US$513 million for a 72.3% holding in Times. Chinese retailer Wumart has already submitted a US$600 million takeover bid for the company. Lotte is South Korea’s third-largest supermarket chain, with 55 outlets. Its China presence extends to a department store in Beijing and plans to open a second in Tianjin next year. Times operates 65 outlets in eastern China and wants to introduce 17 more hypermarkets nationwide.
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