Reports have named at least seven first-round bids for ParknShop

Reports have named at least seven first-round bids for ParknShop

The first-round bids have reportedly been made for Hong Kong supermarket chain ParknShop - with regional retailers and private-equity firms said to have tabled offers.

Reuters and The Wall Street Journal said China Resources Enterprise, Japanese retailer Aeon and private-equity firm TPG Capital were among bidders for ParknShop, which is owned by Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

Retailers including Australia's two largest grocers - Woolworths Ltd and Wesfarmers - South Korea's Lotte Group and China's Sun Art Retail Group have also been reported as bidders. Two other private-equity firms - KKR and Blackstone - have also been said to have made offers.

Last month, Hutchison Whampoa said it had been placed ParknShop, one of Hong Kong's two largest supermarket chains, under strategic review, although it has not publicly confirmed the chain is formally up for sale.

Reuters reported on Friday there had been "at least" seven bids for ParknShop. It cited offers from Woolworths, Aeon, China Resources Enterprise and private-equity firms KKR and TPG. The agency said it was not clear who the other suitors were but claimed there was "early interest" from Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers, the owner of Coles, plus Lotte and Wal-Mart Stores.

The WSJ said offers had come in from three retailers - Aeon, China Resources Enterprise and Lotte - as well as private-equity firm TPG.

The Financial Times reported seven bids, including from Aeon and two private-equity firms Blackstone and TPG. It also cited "interest" from China Resources Enterprise and Sun Art.

Hong Kong newspaper The Standard named Woolworths and Wesfarmers as two of eight bidders. The publication said four retailers - Aeon, China Resources Enterprise, Lotte and Sun Art Retail Group -as well as two private-equity firms, KKR and TPG, had tabled offers.

Since its announcement of the strategic review for ParknShop, Hutchison Whampoa has declined to comment further.

None of the reported bidders could be reached for immediate comment. Wal-Mart had not returned a request for comment at the time of writing.

Click here for just-food's Deal or no deal analysis on the possible sale of ParknShop, published earlier this month.