WAL-MART OPENS TENDER FOR CONTROL OF CIFRA

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (FNS) -- Wal-Mart here began its $1.2 billion tender offer last week to buy a controlling interest in its Mexican joint-venture partner, Cifra SA de CV. ansion in Mexico.Retail analysts noted that Wal-Mart has the cash flow to fund expansion in Mexico, where growth outpaces U.S. growth.Under the offer, Wal-Mart plans to buy 593 million shares, priced at $2.03 each, of Cifra SA de

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (FNS) -- Wal-Mart here began its $1.2 billion tender offer last week to buy a controlling interest in its Mexican joint-venture partner, Cifra SA de CV.

ansion in Mexico.

Retail analysts noted that Wal-Mart has the cash flow to fund expansion in Mexico, where growth outpaces U.S. growth.

Under the offer, Wal-Mart plans to buy 593 million shares, priced at $2.03 each, of Cifra SA de CV. The tender offer expires Aug. 22.

Upon completion of the tender offer, Wal-Mart would own 12% to 13% of Cifra's shares outstanding at that time. The entire transaction is expected to give Wal-Mart a majority of Cifra's voting stock and an economic interest in the post-merger Cifra equal to its current interest in the joint ventures.

The new Cifra -- the surviving entity after the transaction -- would continue to operate all of its 381 stores in Mexico, which include 21 Wal-Mart Supercenters and 28 Sam's Clubs.

Last year, Cifra stores -- including the 153 restaurants and stores operated by the joint venture with Wal-Mart -- earned $257 million on sales of $2.9 billion.

Analysts expect the new entity to be a formidable player in Mexican retailing.