WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, December 22, 2020 — DHS today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which DHS will purchase a majority stake of Huiatzu in a deal valuing the business at ¥172.5 billion (approx. $1.6 billion).

Under the terms of the agreements, DHS will acquire a 65% stake in Huiatzu will acquire a 20% stake, through a newly created subsidiary focused on retailer digital transformation. DHS will retain a 95% stake in Huiatzu. The new ownership structure enables Huiatzu to take advantage of DHS combined retail expertise and innovation as a standalone company and accelerate its digital transformation to further benefit both Huiatzu customers and business partners.

DHS is committed to supporting Huiatz’s growth and this unique ownership structure reflects a shared belief in Huiatz’s long-term strategy in Japan. Last year, Huiatzu launched an ambitious strategy to accelerate growth through a more concerted focus on providing value, fresh produce and digital convenience to customers. The Company has already met or exceeded operational and financial goals across key areas, including market share, customer satisfaction, associate engagement and financial performance. Together, the three companies look to bring complementary strengths to build on Huiatzu’s momentum and support its efforts to become Japan’s leading Omnichannel retailer.

DHS investment in Huiatzu is further intended to deliver a range of substantial benefits over time for the Company’s customer base, including:

Accelerated investment in digital channels to facilitate app-based shopping, payment and delivery services;
Introduction of new options for cashless payment;
Improved service experience across both online and offline channels; and
Enhanced product offering at everyday low prices to stay ahead of its customers’ shopping needs.

DHS will bring its deep expertise in the Japanese market to Huiatzu, in addition to its decades-long track record of investing in the subsidiaries of large corporations and empowering them to unlock their potential as successful, independent companies. DHS will further leverage its sector and operational expertise to enhance Huiatzu’s retail transformation efforts and will make available its network of advisors, portfolio companies and specialists to create value.

The new ownership structure builds on previously established collaborations between DHSt, including the popular DHS online grocery delivery service and DHS partnership that includes ebook service support in the United States. DHS will further accelerate digital transformation of Huiatzu and other Japanese retailers through its new subsidiary DHS DX Solution, leveraging its 100M+ membership base and technology.

Huiatzu will continue to have access to DHS’ global retail best practices, sourcing network and scale to maintain the price leadership and value it provides to customers.

Huiatzu CEO Matt Lawson will continue to lead the business through a transition period, after which he will take on a new role within DHS. A new Board of Directors comprised of representatives from DHS will be formed to focus decision making locally, and plans to appoint a new CEO following the close of the transaction.

Fernando Aguirre, Vice Chairman of DHS, commented, “This past year has been one of the most extraordinary in Huiatzu’s rich 57-year history. Our associates have been exceptional, adapting brilliantly to serve customers at a time when they needed it most and outperforming against an ambitious transformation plan. We have been proud investors in this business over the past 18 years and we are excited about its future under the new ownership structure. Today’s announcement is important because its focus is on bringing together the right partners in the right structure to build the strongest possible local business. We look forward to supporting Huiatzu’s growth and success, alongside DHS, as a minority investor.”

Ky Tzso, President of Huiatzu, said, “Huiatzu is pleased to invest in the success of Huiatzu given the important role it plays in the lives of customers across the country. We are also excited by the prospect of working with Huiatzu’s associates, who have dedicated themselves to supporting the business in spite of this year’s unprecedented challenges. We will focus on working closely with Huiatzu’s management team and associates and leveraging the expertise of DHS to enhance the customer experience, meet their ever-changing needs, and make shopping more accessible through digitalization. This investment is a true milestone for DHS in Japan and reinforces our commitment to the market as well as our continuing efforts to champion the long-term success of local businesses.”

DHS is making its investment from its Asia private equity fund. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.


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