Marubeni Corporation, the majority stake holder in struggling Japanese supermarket group Daiei, is likely to pick AEON over Wal-Mart to become an equity partner in the retail chain, Japanese reports have suggested.

According to a report which appeared yesterday (4 October) in Nihon Keizai, Marubeni will grant Aeon priority negotiating rights for the purchase of a portion of its 44.6% in Daiei. The newspaper did not cite sources.

It is rumoured that Marubeni feels that Aeon will be the best partner to revive Daiei, based on Aeon’s strong track record in helping to turn around struggling retailers such as Mycal Corporation.

Daiei shares were given a big boost in August, when reports surfaced that Marubeni was planning to sell a 10-15% stake in the supermarket group to either Wal-Mart or Aeon.