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Thai Billionaire Tycoons Eye $7 Billion Tesco Lotus Business

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Britain’s largest supermarket chain Tesco’s operations in Thailand and Malaysian are on the shopping lists of Thai tycoons. More than three Thai billionaire tycoon families are weighing bids for Tesco Lotus.

Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont’s Charoen Pokphand Group and Central Group, controlled by Chirathivat family, are among one of the companies weighing bids for Tesco-Lotus that could fetch more than $7 billion.

CP Group and Central Group are also holding discussions with financial advisers preparing for separate bids, Bloomberg reports.

TCC Group, controlled by Thai Billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has also expressed interest, Bloomberg said.

Tesco said in December that it was carrying out a strategic review of its Thai and Malaysian businesses after receiving interest. A sale of the Asian operations (Tesco Lotus) would give the supermarket chain an infusion of cash. Helping it continue the restructuring of its core U.K. business that has cut thousands of jobs.

Tesco is expected to call for initial bids for Tesco Lotus as soon as next month. However companies might decide against making any offer as deliberations continue, Bloomberg added.

Thai Tycoons Remain Silent

A representative for Tesco said the company has no comment beyond its Dec. 8 statement. A spokesman at CP Group also said the company has no information to share at the moment. While a representative for Central Group declined to comment. TCC Group wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Tesco has more than 2,000 hypermarkets and convenience stores in Thailand under the “Tesco Lotus” brand. The chain was founded by CP Group in 1994 and later taken over by the British firm.

In Malaysia, Tesco has over 70 shops, according to its annual report. Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd owns a 30% stake in Tesco Malaysia.

Berli Jucker Pcl, controlled by TCC, bought a controlling stake in Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA’s Thailand supermarket chain Big C Supercenter Pcl for 3.1 billion euros ($3.45 billion) in 2016. Big C is the country’s second-largest supermarket chain behind Tesco Lotus.

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