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Tickers in this Article: WMT
No, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is not looking to take over the entire country of South Africa. Rather it is attempting to acquire local chain Massmart after lodging a $2.2 billion bid.

The government of South Africa had set aside the bid, according to AFP. However, that was dismissed by a court in that country on Friday.

"The arguments of the ministers do not justify the setting aside of the (competition) tribunal decision," said Judge Dennis Davis, with South Africa looking to attract foreign investors.

Three government ministers were seeking for the deal to be set aside, despite the fact that it had been approved in May. The 16.5 million rand (1.7 million euros) purchase would have gotten WMT a 51% stake in Massmart.

The court did add, however, that a study be conducted within three months to investigate the potential participation of small and medium-sized businesses in WMT's global supply chain, and sure that those companies will be able to benefit from the merger.

"One of the red herrings that has been thrown around about this particular process has been about whether this is a generalized statement on foreign direct investment," said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, one of the three ministers who challenged the deal. "It's not correct and misleading to make those big leaps -- to say... we are negative about foreign investment. Not at all."

The court acknowledged the minsters' concerns about the impact on local jobs and suppliers, but said that there is "insufficient evidence to conclude that the deterimental effects of the merger would outweigh the clear benefits."

On March 6, Bank of America Merrill Lynch released a research report saying that it believes WMT's Old School strategy is working (traffic positive in F4Q12 for the first time in 2 yrs) & should cont to support U.S. comp momentum in '12 given ongoing refinements to its, "1) EDLP emphasis; 2) opening price points/small pack size merchandising; 3) on-shelf availability/in-stock levels; 4) inventory reinvestment & space allocations; 5) local merchandising efforts; 6) category adjacencies. Plans to invest $2 billion in price in the U.S. over the next 2 fiscal yrs also support the U.S. comp outlook."

On March 1, a release was sent out via Business Wire, saying that the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) had approved an annual dividend of $1.59 per share, approximately a 9 percent increase from the $1.46 per share paid during fiscal year 2012.

"We are pleased that the strength of our financial position allows Walmart to again increase our dividend payout to shareholders," said Mike Duke, Walmart president and chief executive officer. "Our free cash flow continues to fund store growth across all our markets, facilitate strategic acquisitions and deliver returns to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase. We returned $11.3 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase during fiscal 2012."


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