Mexico's Alsea expects to close Vips transaction "shortly"

MEXICO CITY, March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 10:04pm EST

MEXICO CITY, March 5 (Reuters) - Mexican restaurant operator Alsea said on Wednesday it expected to close a deal to purchase retailer Walmex's Vips restaurant chain shortly, once it has fulfilled conditions set out by the country's competition watchdog.

Alsea, which runs Domino's Pizza, Starbucks and Burger King franchises in Mexico, agreed to buy Walmex's 362 restaurants in September for 8.2 billion pesos ($626.96 million).

On Wednesday, Alsea said it had received a resolution from the country's competition watchdog.

The resolution made the deal conditional on Alsea providing information about exclusivity agreements with the malls in which it operates, and eliminating 54 exclusive clauses in contracts with malls.

"Alsea and Wal-Mex hope to meet the conditions and close the transaction shortly," the company said.

In November, the company said it had sought permission from regulators for an equity offering so it could pay off debt resulting from the purchase.

Shares in the company ended the day down 1.15 percent at 40.36 pesos ($3.05) before the announcement was made.

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