Dangdang, an Amazon rival in China, is also in talks with other potential investors, said the people, who declined to be identified as the matter was private.
Dangdang told Reuters it has been approached by investors and has not accepted any offer. It said, without elaborating, that other details of talks with suitors were inaccurate. HNA declined to comment.
The development comes after USD 50 billion worth of deal-making over the past two years sparked public scrutiny of HNA’s opaque ownership and use of leverage, prompting the conglomerate to slow the pace of acquisitions in recent months.
The buying spree has brought HNA business interests as varied as aviation, logistics, hospitality and financial services. The Dangdang talks come as HNA looks to build e-commerce platforms.
The latest deal is likely to value Beijing-based Dangdang at 8 billion to 10 billion yuan (USD 1.2 billion to USD 1.5 billion), the people said. Financial terms are not yet finalised and the talks could still collapse, they said.
HNA aims to own slightly more than 90 percent, one of the people said.
The acquisition, if successful, would give HNA access to a major local e-commerce platform that evolved from a leading bookseller to a marketplace of over 14,000 stores selling goods as varied as DVDs, cosmetics, clothes and furniture.
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