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Tycoon Li's Hutchison mulls retail unit spin-off

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October 21, 2013 03:06 AM EST | AP


HONG KONG — HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's flagship company is considering spinning off its retail business in what could be one of Asia's biggest share sales in several years.

Hutchison Whampoa said it has expanded a strategic review of its A.S. Watson & Co. business. That includes the possibility of an initial public offering in some or all of its markets, though it doesn't plan to give up control.

Investment bank Credit Suisse estimates Watson could raise up to 98 billion Hong Kong dollars ($13 billion).

Watson operates more than 11,000 retail stores worldwide. Its businesses include Britain's Superdrug chain, French cosmetics retailer Marionnaud in France and chains in Russia, Belgium and Germany.