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Wal-Mart considering smaller stake in South African retailer

New York City - Wal-Mart Stores is considering taking a smaller stake in South African retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd. to keep its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Associated Press reported.

Massmart said Thursday that Wal-Mart informed the company that it may now make a partial offer to buy more than 50% of the company for 148 rands ($21.06) per share.

In September Wal-Mart offered to buy all of Massmart for about $4.25 billion.

Massmart currently has 201.5 million shares outstanding, according to Thomson Reuters. The company, based in Johannesburg, runs about 290 stores in 13 countries in Africa, with most in South Africa. It also manages eight wholesale and retail chains under various brand names.

A deal with Massmart would give Wal-Mart an opening to expand in South Africa, a fast-growing economy but one that's also troubled by high crime and a 24% unemployment rate. It also has a heavily unionized work force.

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