Apple Inc. will pay up to $1 billion to buy Canadian stocks in a move that will help it compete in the fast-growing online marketplace for retail products, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company plans to make a final decision on the sale of its stake in U.S.-based Sears Holdings Inc. and its interest in a group of Canadian retail companies in the second quarter of this year, the people said, requesting anonymity because the discussions are private.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The stock is up more than 13% this year after the deal closed in March.
Sears, a unit of the iconic Sears department store chain, has faced competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc., which launched its own online store last month.
Sears is a key component of Apple’s strategy to capture more than a fifth of the U.K. online retail market.
The deal is a blow to Sears, which has been working to shed its retail footprint in the U, where it had an operating profit of $2.1 billion in fiscal 2016, the most recent data available.
The Canadian company is planning to build its own stores and sell goods online, the individuals said.
The companies are expected to complete their purchase in the first half of 2017.
The two-year deal would mark a major shift in Apple’s thinking about selling to other countries.
It is still committed to selling products in the United States and Canada, said Apple spokesman David Loy.
“We’re looking to expand our presence in countries like the U., Europe and Asia, and we think we’re in a very good position to do that,” Loy said in a statement.
Apple and Sears are working to resolve the issues over the last several months, the companies said.
Apple has already said it will take a 25% stake in Sears if it is to be acquired.
Apple is in talks with other potential buyers, according the people.
The potential buyer is expected to announce its plans for the acquisition in the coming months.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is valued at about $100 billion by some analysts.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the potential deal.
The U.C. Berkeley School of Business is a private research university that is among the top schools in the world in economics and finance.