D&S Rises Most in 2 Months on Acquisition Speculation (Update2)

By James Attwood and Nathan Gill

     Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — Distribucion y Servicio D&S, Chile’s biggest grocer, rose the most in two months in Santiago trading on renewed speculation it will be acquired by another retailer.
     “This stock is always with rumors that someone would buy it,” Alvaro Pipino, head of research at IM Trust, said by phone from Santiago today. “There are new rumors around – although this time nothing specific on who the buyer would be.”
     D&S climbed 7.8 percent to 194.99 pesos, the steepest advance since Oct. 13. It was the best performer today on Chile’s Ipsa index, which rose 0.1 percent.
     Chilean antitrust authorities rejected a planned merger between D&S and department store operator SACI Falabella SA in January. In July, El Mercurio reported that D&S held “informal” discussions with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. during the Falabella merger talks.
     The Santiago-based company is unaware of reasons for the share-price gain today, it wrote in a statement responding to a query from the stock exchange. Spokesman Claudio Hohmann wasn’t available to comment, an assistant said by phone.
     “For a long time D&S has talked about going international,” Cristian Araya, an analyst at BBVA Corredores de Bolsa in Santiago, said by phone. “After the failed merger with Falabella it’s thought that at some point there would be another merger or expansion abroad.”
     Separately, D&S will open a chain of restaurants called “El Buen Corte,” using the same line of premium meats sold in its supermarkets, El Mercurio reported, citing a person familiar with the deal. D&S confirmed it is studying a restaurant format, without elaborating, El Mercurio reported.

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