Wal-Mart makes firm offer on South African group

The U.S. giant retailer Wal-Mart is offering to buy 51 percent of South Africa's Massmart stores.

In a joint statement Monday, Wal-Mart and Massmart said the U.S. company is offering 148 rand (about $20) per share to Massmart stockholders in a 17 billion rand (about $2 billion) deal for its first African foothold. Massmart will continue to be listed on the Johannesburg exchange, addressing a concern of some major Massmart stockholders that led Wal-Mart to revise an earlier bid to buy all of Massmart.

Massmart's board recommends shareholders accept. Monday's statement says major institutional shareholders support the deal.

Massmart, based in Johannesburg, runs about 290 big box, pharmacy and electronics stores in 14 African countries, mostly in South Africa.

(This version corrects number of countries in which Massmart operates to 14. )