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Home Depot Moves Into China

The home-improvement giant takes its first step into Asia with the purchase of The Home Way.
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Home Depot


is moving into the Asian market by purchasing a Chinese home-improvement retailer, the company said Wednesday.

The Atlanta-based do-it-yourself retailer said it signed an agreement to buy The Home Way, China's first "big box" home-improvement retail chain.

Home Depot didn't disclose terms of the deal, but the

Financial Times

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, citing people close to the transaction, put the price tag at $100 million. The deal is expected to close by year-end.

The purchase gives Home Depot access to China's home-improvement market, which the company said is valued at nearly $50 billion and has been growing at a compounded annual rate of 20%.

Founded in 1996, The Home Way has 12 stores in six Chinese cities and has about 3,000 employees. The company is headquartered in Tianjin, about 85 miles southeast of Beijing.

The move expands Home Depot's international presence beyond North America. The world's largest home-improvement specialty retailer planted its flag in Canada in 1994 and moved into a Mexico in 2001. The company said it now holds the No.1 position in both markets. Home Depot opened a business development office in China in late 2004.

"This acquisition provides us with a great point of entry in one of the world's largest and fastest-growing home-improvement markets," Bob Nardelli, Home Depot chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Shares of Home Depot recently were up 46 cents, or 1.2%, to $39.16.