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Alibaba invests in VinMart operator The CrownX

Alibaba invests in VinMart operator The CrownX

A staff arranges goods at a VinMart outlet. Photo courtesy of Masan Group.

A consortium led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will invest $400 million in the subsidiary of conglomerate Masan Group that operates retail chain VinMart.

The consortium, including Baring Private Equity Asia, one of the largest private equity firms in Asia, has signed an agreement to acquire a 5.5 percent stake in The CrownX, a deal that values the company at $6.9 billion.

Masan will own an 80.2 percent stake in the company after the deal.

With Alibaba on board, The CrownX will partner with its Southeast Asian ecommerce company Lazada to accelerate the offline to online market in Vietnam.

VinCommerce, the subsidiary of The CrownX that operates the VinMart supermarket and VinMart+ convenience store chains, will be the preferred grocery retailer on Lazada in Vietnam, and its outlets will be used as pick-up points for online orders.

“The transaction marks a shared vision … that The CrownX has the potential to establish Vietnam’s first tech-enabled consumer ecosystem and expand its reach to serve consumers nationwide,” Masan said in a statement.

It is also in discussions with other investors for a further strategic investment of $300 – 400 million in The CrownX, and they are expected to close this year.