China's Lianhua Supermarket says Alibaba takes 18 pct stake

FILE PHOTO: People ride a double bicycle past a logo of The Alibaba Group at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co Ltd 0980.HK on Monday said shareholder Shanghai Yiguo E-Commerce Co Ltd would sell an 18 percent stake in supermarket chain operator to a unit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.N.

Lianhua said Shanghai Yiguo would transfer 201.53 million domestic shares to Alibaba (China) Technology Co Ltd. It did not provide a value.

Based on Lianhua’s stock price as of Monday afternoon trade, the deal could be worth HK$782 million ($100.33 million), Reuters calculations showed.

Shanghai Yiguo also agreed to sell 22.39 million shares, or about 2 percent of Lianhua, to Bailian Group Co Ltd 600827.SS, Lianhua said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

In February, Alibaba formed a strategic partnership with Bailian Group, the largest retailer by store numbers to join the e-commerce giant’s drive to use big data to improve and profit from brick-and-mortar sales. [nL4N1G51OL]

Trading in Lianhua shares, which was suspended late on Monday morning, resumed in afternoon trade. The share price surged over 30 percent to its highest since September 2015 at HK$4.21 prior to the trading halt. The stock trimmed gains when trade resumed but was still up 23.5 percent at HK$3.89.

($1 = 7.7943 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Donny Kwok