Lojas Americanas to take full control of online unit B2W - report

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brazilian retail group Lojas Americanas is planning to buy the shares it does not already own in its online unit B2W and delist it from the Sao Paolo stock exchange, or Bovespa, business daily Valor Economico reported Monday.

The operation, which could take place sometime before the end of the first quarter, is expected to reach around 1.7bn reais (US$1bn), with Americanas incorporating B2W rather than launching a public offer for its shares.

Currently, Americanas holds a 54.94% controlling stake in B2W, Brazil's largest on-line retailer.

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B2W was created in late 2006 from the merger of the Americanas.com and Submarino websites.

An agreement has expired that previously prevented Americanas, for a period of four years, from buying B2W shares exceeding 10% of the total outstanding without previous consent from most of the board's independent members, according to the daily.

Americanas wants to take advantage of B2W's low share price, as well as of synergies that would allow for cost-cutting, Valor Economico reported. B2W's stock has accumulated losses of 62% since its debut in August 2007. Americanas' shares fell 9% in the same period.

By Sergio Caldas