MEXICO CITY — Grupo Gigante here said last week it plans to sell all of its retail operations, except Super Precio convenience stores, to Monterrey-based Soriana, for $1.35 billion, subject to approval by Mexican authorities and a vote by its shareholders. That vote is scheduled for later this month, though Gigante officials were unable to pinpoint the date when asked by SN. The transaction involves 199 stores in Mexico operating under the Gigante, Bodega Gigante and Super G banners, and seven Gigante stores in Southern California, as well as the corresponding distribution centers. The acquisition will enable Soriana to expand outside of northern Mexico, including 47 locations it will pick up in the Mexico City area, where it currently operates only one store. Gigante said the transaction is structured as an assets and rights transfer and does not involve the sale of shares. It also includes a labor agreement under which Soriana will retain more than 25,000 employees and managers of the stores and distribution centers. According to Gigante, the decision to divest the stores came after several months of evaluating different alternatives that included divestments, mergers and acquisitions. The company said it will shift the focus of its strategic business to other operations, including its real estate holdings, restaurants and family coffee shops, and joint ventures with Office Depot and Radio Shack.
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