South African retailer Massmart, in which Wal-Mart owns a majority stake, has remained coy over a claim it is looking to buy a majority stake in Kenyan retailer Naivas.
The chairman of Naivas, Simon Mukuha, told Reuters the company was in talks to sell over half the business to Massmart.
Mukuha said Naivas, which runs over 20 stores in Kenya, expects to sell a 50% stake plus one share. He said the deal is “in the pipeline” but said the companies had yet to agree on the price.
Massmart, however, has remained tight-lipped over whether it has, or is likely, to place a bid.
“Massmart’s interest in investing in Kenya is well known and we have met with several important players in that market, building relationships,” said Massmart CEO Grant Pattison. “We don’t however, comment on acquisitions, potential, speculative or otherwise.”
Massmart has been trying to gain a good foothold in Kenya. In July last year, the retailer said it was in talks to open its first store in Kenya with shopping centre developer Actis.
At present, Naivas operates around 28 stores, less than its Kenyan rivals Nakumatt and Uchumi.
Naivas could not be reached for comment.