Wal-Mart de Mexico, Mexico’s largest retailer, surprised analysts on Friday by saying it may sell its restaurant unit, including the popular Vips chain, after receiving interest from potential buyers. Walmex, which is controlled by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has reported weak same-store sales recently, but is not in need of cash, analysts said.
“Part of the reason is that there have been third parties in the past who have expressed interest (in the restaurants),” Walmex spokesman Antonio Ocaranza told a local radio station. “As a responsible company, we should respond to what may be of interest to our shareholders,” he added. The group of 364 restaurants, which accounts for only a fraction of Walmex’s profits, may fetch between $600 million and $700 million, estimated one analyst who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.