A sign board of a Lawson convenience store is see in Tokyo, Japan September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp will launch a tender offer to buy a majority stake in convenience operator Lawson Inc for about 144 billion yen ($1.4 billion), the companies said on Friday.

Mitsubishi will offer 8,650 yen per Lawson share to raise its stake to 50.1 percent from 33.47% now. It aims to launch the offer in January pending regulatory approvals. Lawson will remain listed following the deal, the companies said.

A sign board of a Lawson convenience store is see in Tokyo, Japan September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The price represents a 17% premium to Lawson’s closing price on Wednesday. The stock rose 7% on Thursday on media reports of the deal, which is expected to boost Lawson’s competitiveness via Mitsubishi’s vast food processing and distribution businesses.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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