US retail giant Wal-Mart has indicated that, if successful, its bid to take a controlling stake in Chilean retailer Distribución y Servicio D&S will further its drive into Central and South America.

Wal-Mart announced that it is to launch a tender offer to acquire a stake in D&S, with a view to acquiring a minimum of 50.01% of outstanding shares.

"We are already operating throughout Central America, and in Brazil and Argentina in South America," a spokesperson for Wal-Mart told just-food. "This transaction will have a positive and significant impact on Wal-Mart's growth plans and is aligned with our strategic goal of investment in the Americas."

The US retail giant said that it will offer US$0.408 per common share, representing a 37.4% premium on the average closing price over the past month.

The Ibañez family, D&S's current controlling shareholder, will enter into a long-term stockholders' agreement with Wal-Mart.

The Ibañez family has already agreed to sell a portion of shares it holds - up to 23.4%, the Wal-Mart spokesperson told just-food.

If Wal-Mart's tender is successful, the company has indicated that D&S will continue to operate under its existing leadership, associates and brands.