Japanese telecom operator KDDI Corp. said Tuesday it plans to acquire a 50 percent stake in convenience store operator Lawson Inc., taking it private with trading house Mitsubishi Corp., which owns the other 50 percent.
The telecom company plans to launch a tender offer worth around 500 billion yen ($3.4 billion) around April to purchase shares from general shareholders at 10,360 yen each, with the process expected to be completed around September.
The move comes as KDDI, which currently has a 2.1 percent stake in Lawson, seeks to strengthen its consumer-oriented business outside the telecommunications industry by using the purchasing data of convenience store customers and using it for its financial and other services.
KDDI intends to leverage Lawson's approximately 14,600 stores nationwide to promote its banking and insurance products, a business area it has focused on in recent years amid intensifying competition in the mobile phone industry.
The telecom carrier also envisions providing smartphone support services remotely at the stores and is considering offering Lawson's products and services at its some 2,200 "au" mobile phone outlets nationwide.
Lawson will implement KDDI's technologies to improve the efficiency of its distribution network and strengthen its store functions during disasters.
The convenience store operator, which became a partially owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi in 2017, aims to gain a competitive advantage by developing new digital services amid challenges in increasing its number of stores.
"Convenience stores are extremely important as social infrastructure. We will fully utilize the power of telecommunications to build future stores," said KDDI President Makoto Takahashi at a joint press conference in Tokyo.
Lawson President Sadanobu Takemasu and Mitsubishi President Katsuya Nakanishi also welcomed the utilization of KDDI's technologies and strong customer base, citing their potential in developing future services.