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Walmart eyeing Turkish retailer Migros

BY Mike Troy

Turkish retailer Migros appears to fit Walmart’s acquisition criteria even if the timing of a potential deal is less than ideal.

Turkey’s leading retailer has been in the headlines a lot this year because the company’s private equity owner, BC Partners, is reportedly looking to dump its ownership position roughly four years after acquiring a majority stake. Various international retailers are said to have had discussions with BC Partners and Walmart is the latest, according to reports this week by the Financial Times, Reuters and other international sources.

As is often the case, reports about Walmart’s international intentions tend to take on a life of their own and the company never comments on speculation. That said, there tends to be fire where there is smoke and over the past decade similar rumors out of places such as Japan, China, Brazil, South Africa and Chile ultimately proved accurate.

If that proves to be the case with Migros, Walmart would pick up the type of retailer that has suited acquisition criteria, which is to say a dominant player in a new market (D&S in Chile, Massmart in South Africa) or an operator in an existing market (Netto in the United Kingdom) that enhances Walmart’s leadership position. In Turkey, Migros is a multi-format operator with a dominant market share that has more than 1,000 locations throughout the country.

"Migros is a unique investment opportunity, with its market leading position, strong and trusted brand, multi-format strategy, and extensive store network across Turkey," is what BC Partners senior partner Francesco Conte had to say back in 2008. "All of these factors make Migros ideally positioned to benefit from the country’s rapidly growing organized food retail market, the favorable demographic trends and the positive dynamics of the Turkish economy."

While Migros may be a good fit for Walmart and a transaction wouldn’t dent the company’s balance sheet, a possible deal comes amid an ongoing and expanding investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that has already cost Walmart $100 million. Walmart has offered no indication when the matter will be resolved.

Meanwhile, the international division continues to forge ahead. Walmart’s international sales and profits during the third quarter were characterized as solid and through the first nine months of the fiscal year sales were up 7.6% to $97.3 billion and operating income is up 9.6% to $4.3 billion. The company indicated that it is gaining market share in every country where it operates except China.

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FDA approves new leukemia drug

BY DSN STAFF

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new leukemia drug made by Ariad Pharmaceuticals, the agency said Friday.

The FDA announced the approval of Iclusig (ponatinib) to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known respectively as CML and Ph+ ALL.

The drug’s approval is happening more than three months ahead of the FDA’s originally intended decision date of March 27, 2013 because the agency reviewed the drug under its priority review program, which allows for an expedited six-month review for drugs that may provide safe and effective therapy when no satisfactory alternative therapy exists, or if the drug offers a significant improvement over existing products.


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Spotted by DSN: Target bus stop ad allows mobile gift orders

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — Commuters in Philadelphia who have forgotten to go holiday shopping may want to head to their nearest bus stop.

The shelter of the bus stop across the street from 30th Street Station includes a display from Target that allows passengers to buy gift items by scanning QR codes with their mobile phones.

The display is similar to one that the Ahold-owned, online grocer Peapod unveiled at commuter rail stations in Chicago and several other major cities along the East Coast allowing commuters to order grocery items with their phones for delivery to their homes or pickup at nearby Ahold-owned supermarkets such as Stop & Shop.

 

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