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LONDON (Reuters) -British supermarket Sainsbury’s said on Tuesday it would take full ownership of the Highbury and Dragon store investment vehicles, paying Supermarket Income REIT 430.9 million pounds ($524.2 million) for its 51% stake.

Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second largest grocer after Tesco, has held a 49% interest in Highbury and Dragon, which comprises the freeholds of 26 stores leased to Sainsbury’s, since it was created in 2000.

The deal will result in Sainsbury’s buying the freeholds of 21 stores which will continue to be operated as Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

The remaining five stores will be sold by Sainsbury’s, four of which it will lease back.

Sainsbury’s has also agreed to fully fund Highbury and Dragon’s bond redemptions of 170.5 million pounds on March 20 and 130.4 million pounds on July 13.

It said the acquisition and bond redemptions would be funded by cash resources and a committed unsecured term facility.

Shares in Sainsbury’s, which trades from over 600 supermarkets and over 800 convenience stores, have increased 17% in 2023 so far.

($1 = 0.8220 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)


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