May 22, 2013 / 3:40 PM / 7 years ago

Exclusive: Carrefour to divest 25 pct stake in Middle East venture - sources

General view of Carrefour's Bercy hypermarket in Charenton, a Paris suburb, February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

DUBAI (Reuters) - Carrefour (CARR.PA), Europe’s largest retailer, is in advanced talks to divest its remaining 25-percent stake in its Middle Eastern joint venture to local partner Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), two sources familiar with the matter said.

Family-owned MAF is paying between $400-$500 million for the stake, one of the sources said, adding an announcement on the divestment was “imminent”.

Carrefour, the world’s largest retailer after Wal-Mart (WMT.N), has been cutting its presence globally and sold 2.8 billion euros ($3.60 billion) worth of assets last year to raise cash for investments and shore up its balance sheet.

The joint venture with MAF operates 48 hypermarkets and 42 supermarkets in 11 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

Carrefour was not immediately available for comment in Paris. A spokesman for MAF in Dubai declined to comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

Unlisted MAF is keen to expand its operations in the region and is said to be in talks to buy Egypt’s largest supermarket chain from family-owned Mansour Group.

MAF is set to issue a hybrid bond - which combines elements of both debt and equity - to finance the transaction, two other sources said.

($1 = 0.7769 euros)

Reporting by Praveen Menon, Dinesh Nair and Rachna Uppal; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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