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Alibaba Invests $692M in Department Store Operator

China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd agreed to invest $692 million in a Chinese department store operator as the e-commerce giant looks to bring the benefits and convenience of online shopping to customers who visit real bricks-and-mortar stores.Alibaba, whose businesses will come under investor scrutiny ahead of the group's planned mega IPO in the United States this year, said it will buy $214 million worth of shares in Hong Kong-listed Intime Retail (Group) Co Ltd.It also agreed to acquire $478 million of convertible bonds, which would give Alibaba a 26.1 percent stake in the department store operator once the bonds are converted into shares in three years.In recent months Alibaba has gone on a shopping spree, spending more than $2.7 billion to expand into media, chat services and mapping technology.The expansion has encroached on the turf of social networking giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, which has in turn made inroads into Alibaba's territory with its partnership with China's No.2 onlin...

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