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Japan’s fifth largest supermarket chain Seiyu has announced that the tie-up plan with US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores announced in March was approved by shareholders at regular meeting earlier today [Thursday].

Wal-Mart will initially purchase a 6.1% stake in Tokyo-based Seiyu for ¥6bn (US$46m), with a view to retaining the ultimate right to take over the company at a later date. Earlier this week, news reports speculated that the deal would be rejected however because the price was too low.

Wal-Mart said that eventually it would spend ¥260bn to increase its 6.1% stake to 66.7%, a transaction that will take place before 2007.

Meanwhile, Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp., which currently ranks as Seiyu’s top shareholder, announced that it will pay ¥5bn to increase its stake to 15.6%.