Mitsubishi mulls raising stake in convenience store operator Lawson in $1.4 bn deal

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp yesterday said that it is mulling raising its stake in convenience store operator Lawson Inc to make it into a subsidiary.

The Nikkei newspaper earlier reported that Mitsubishi was considering increasing its stake in Lawson from 33 per cent to 51 per cent in a deal worth over 140 billion ($1.4 billion).

''Whereas we acknowledge that we are considering a tender to become a majority shareholder in Lawson, Inc. while keeping the company listed on the stock exchange, no decision has been reached on the matter. Mitsubishi Corporation will provide prompt disclosure once a decision has been reached, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement.

Lawson operates about 12,600 stores in Japan and 930 overseas, and has plans to increase it by 26 per cent to 1,000 stores overseas by February 2017.

It is Japan's third-biggest convenience store chain after 7-Eleven and FamilyMart Co and its overseas stores are located in the US, China, Indonesia, and Thailand.