Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering to buy South African retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd. for approximately $4.25 billion.
A deal would give the world's largest retailer an opening to expand in Africa, a fast-growing region.
"South Africa possesses attractive market dynamics, favorable demographic trends and a growing economy," Executive Vice President Andy Bond said in a statement.
Wal-Mart said Monday that it would pay 148 rands ($21.11) per share for Massmart, which has 201.5 million shares outstanding according to Thomson Reuters. Further details of the proposed deal were not disclosed.
Massmart, based in Johannesburg, runs 290 stores in 13 countries in Africa, with most in South Africa. It also manages eight wholesale and retail chains under various brand names.
The push to expand its presence in an emerging market comes as Wal-Mart faces sluggish sales in the U.S. Wal-Mart is aiming to pump up domestic sales with an aggressive push into urban markets, planning a small format that's a fraction of the size of its supercenters.
That expansion is expected to be detailed in October at Wal-Mart's meeting with analysts at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
Wal-Mart has more than 8,500 stores under 55 different names in 15 countries. It has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. Its fiscal 2010 sales were $405 billion.
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