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Li’s Hutchison Signals Possible Sale of ParknShop Chain

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing, signaled it’s considering selling the ParknShop chain, potentially exiting one of the two biggest supermarket businesses in the city of 7 million people.

Hutchison is conducting a strategic review of ParknShop, the Hong Kong-based operator of ports and telecommunication networks said in a statement today. A timetable hasn’t been set for the review and there is no certainty of a transaction being announced or completed, it said in the statement.

The group wants to sell ParknShop for as much as $2 billion and hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to handle the deal, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday, citing unidentified people. Li plans to exit a Hong Kong grocery market that’s mature and growing slowly, the newspaper reported.

Hutchison said the review of ParknShop, which it called Hong Kong’s market-leading supermarket chain, doesn’t indicate Li will withdraw from the city where his investing prowess won him the nickname “Superman.”

Hans Leung, a Hutchison spokesman, declined to comment today. Connie Ling, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, and Paul Scanlon, a spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, both declined to comment on the report in e-mailed responses today to queries from Bloomberg News.

ParknShop and Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd.’s Wellcome are the two largest supermarket chains in Hong Kong. They had a combined 73 percent market share last year, the WSJ said, citing Euromonitor. Hutchison decided last month on a sale and will complete its internal review process by mid-August, the Journal reported. Potential bidders will receive details soon, it said.

Li’s net worth of $27 billion makes him the 17th richest individual in the world, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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