Wumart Founder Increases His Stake, Makes Buyout Offer

Wumart Stores Inc. (1025), a Chinese supermarket operator, said founder Zhang Wenzhong increased his stake in the company, prompting a mandatory buyout offer at HK$4.98 for each Hong Kong-listed share.

Wumei Holdings Inc., controlled by Zhang, and parties acting with it boosted their stake in Beijing-based Wumart’s to 53.4 percent from 40.9 percent -- more than the 2 percent increase that triggers Hong Kong’s obligatory-offer rule, according to a filing to the city’s stock exchange yesterday.

Zhang is increasing his holding in Wumart after the company’s shares slid. The stock fell 0.8 percent to close at HK$9.16 in Hong Kong yesterday, before the announcement. This brings the decline in the past 12 months to 39 percent, compared with a gain of 0.5 percent for the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Wumei plans to retain Wumart’s Hong Kong listing, and will maintain the company’s minimum required 25 percent public float, Wumart said yesterday.

The buyout offer was triggered after Zhang increased his stake in Beijing Wangshang Shijie E-business Co., which owns 12.5 percent of Wumart’s shares, according to the filing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Fellman in New York at jfellman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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