Alibaba Group has agreed to invest about $2.9 billion in one of China’s largest operators of retail megastores, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The investment in Sun Art Retail Group, one of Alibaba’s biggest deals to date, accelerates the e-commerce giant’s expansion into the offline retail world. The deal effectively gives Alibaba a roughly 36% stake in Sun Art, making it a major shareholder, the person said. Hong Kong-listed Sun Art, which operates so-called hypermarkets, has a market capitalization of about $10.5 billion. An Alibaba spokeswoman declined to comment.