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Business deals

Japan drugstore chain Cocokara to pursue Matsumotokiyoshi merger

Seventh- and fifth-ranked players would leap to top with nearly $9.4bn sales

Drugstore operator Matsumotokiyoshi, which led Japan's market for 22 years before slipping to fifth, appears to have the inside track for a merger with rival Cocokara Fine.

TOKYO -- Japanese drugstore operator Cocokara Fine intends to pursue merger talks with rival Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings, Nikkei has learned, in a move that could create a new market leader with total sales of nearly 1 trillion yen ($9.4 billion).

Cocokara previously fielded an offer from another player, Sugi Holdings, but a committee established to explore a merger has backed Matsumotokiyoshi's proposal instead. Cocokara's board members have discussed the matter and also determined that the company would benefit more from synergies with Matsumotokiyoshi, according to sources.

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