Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Bae Kim & Lee are advising Tesco, the third-largest retailer in the world on the sale of Homeplus, its South Korean arm, to a group led by PE firm MBK Partners for $6.1 billion.

This is the biggest private equity buyout in Asia-Pacific to date and the largest-ever M&A transaction in Korea.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Yulchon are representing MBK, with Ropes & Gray advising the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which acquired a 20 percent stake in Homeplus. The Ropes & Gray team is being led by private equity partners Brian Schwarzwalder and Jaewoo Lee.

A Paul Hastings team is advising Singapore's Temasek, a member of the buyer consortium, led by Seoul partner Daniel Sae-Chin Kim, with support from Hong Kong partner Douglas Freeman and London office chair Ronan O'Sullivan.

According to Reuters, the British supermarket chain is retreating from foreign markets to focus on reviving its troubled domestic business. The sale of Homeplus, its largest overseas asset, represents the first large divestment by Tesco boss Dave Lewis, who wants to slash debt and rid the firm of its junk credit rating after its profits were battered by market share losses to discounters Aldi and Lidl in Britain and by an accounting scandal.

It follows Tesco's costly exits from Japan and the United States, as well as a reduction of its exposure to China, under previous management and highlights the difficulty Western retailers have had away from their home markets.

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