October 11, 2008

Lawson Wins Negotiating Rights for Am/PM Japan Acquisition

Tokyo, Oct. 11 (Jiji Press)--Major convenience store chain Lawson Inc. has acquired preferential negotiating rights for the acquisition of industry competitor am/pm Japan Co. from Rex Holdings Inc., informed sources said Saturday.

Lawson plans to decide whether to purchase am/pm Japan after evaluating its assets and financial standing, the sources said.

It is still unclear whether Lawson will go ahead with the acquisition since Lawson has many stores near am/pm Japan outlets, observers said.

Although am/pm Japan operates about 900 outlets mainly in good locations in central Tokyo, many of the stores are unprofitable due to high rent. The company fell into a debt excess at the end of the business year to December 2007.

Because of the net debt position, industry rivals seem to be reluctant to buy am/pm Japan.

FamilyMart Co. President Junji Ueda said Thursday the acquisition of am/pm seems very difficult although his company is interested in such a deal.END

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