October 19, 2017 / 9:12 AM / a year ago

CORRECTED-Russia's X5, Magnit and Lenta eyeing Siberian chain Holiday-sources

(Corrects third paragraph to read “...regions...” instead of “...time regions...”)

MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Russian food retailers X5 , Magnit, and Lenta are in talks with Siberian company Holiday on acquiring parts of its business, two market sources and a source close to Holiday said.

Russia’s biggest retailers have for some years been looking to expand in the vast but sparsely populated Siberian market, which is mostly served by local chains, pop-up shops and open markets.

Holiday is one of the largest local retailers, with around 500 outlets, including discounters, convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets scattered across seven regions.

The company may sell around half its stores to the three retailers to raise cash for repaying debt, the sources said.

Two sources said Holiday owners wanted to keep the discount store business while selling the other three formats.

X5, Magnit and Holiday declined to comment.

Lenta said Siberia was a strategic target for its expansion and while it did not rule out making small acquisitions was primarily focused on organic growth. It declined to comment on its interest in Holiday specifically.

Magnit, which opened its first store in Siberia in 2012 and had 388 outlets there as of the end of June, said on Wednesday it was in talks to buy Siberian store operator ETK.

X5, which has opened 186 stores in Siberia since entering the market in 2016, has this month opened its first distribution centre in the region. (Reporting by Olga Sichkar and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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