U.S. investment fund eyes Sogo & Seibu

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Seibu Ikebukuro department store in Toshima Ward, Tokyo

U.S. investment fund Fortress Investment Group LLC has obtained a preferential negotiation right to purchase major department store chain Sogo & Seibu Co., The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Details of the agreement, including sale value and employee job security, have yet to be trashed out.

Several entities, including other investment funds, reportedly submitted offers for the chain to parent company Seven & i Holdings Co.

Fortress Investment Group — an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp. — also has invested in Leopalace21 Corp., a major provider of rental housing, and Accordia Golf Co., a major operator of golf courses.

ValueAct Capital, a different U.S. investment fund that holds shares in Seven & i Holdings, reportedly has pressurized the company to offload its unprofitable business sections and concentrate on managing its Seven-Eleven convenience store chain.

Sales of Sogo & Seibu have been sluggish amid the novel coronavirus crisis.

Seven & i Holdings has demanded that employees’ jobs be maintained as a precondition of the sale, but this may prove a stumbling block for negotiations.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Sogo Omiya department store in Saitama