Wuhan Zhongshang buys Alibaba-backed home-improvement chain

Chinese retail conglomerate Wuhan Zhongshang Commercial Group has acquired Easyhome New Retail, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Easyhome, an Alibaba-backed home-improvement chain, is likely to go public on the strength of the deal.

Wuhan Zhongshang will become the Chinese-listed firm’s controlling shareholder, with Alibaba and 22 other investors also owning stakes.

A recent report asserted that Wuhan Zhongshang would purchase the new retail unit by issuing 6 billion shares at CNY6.18 (US92c) per share, resulting in a valuation of 36.3–38.3 billion yuan (US$5.35–5.65 billion) and a backdoor listing on the Shenzhen bourse.

Reports have suggested Easyhome is eager to sidestep the traditional IPO listing process against a lethargic IPO market and a lengthy regulatory approval queue.

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