Walmart restarts talks to sell stake in £7bn Asda

Walmart said on Monday it has restarted talks with potential buyers of a majority stake in its Leeds-based supermarket firm Asda.

“Walmart and Asda have restarted conversations with a small number of third-party investors who are interested in acquiring a stake in Asda and partnering with Walmart, following renewed inbound interest,” said a Walmart spokesman.

After Asda’s attempt to merge with Sainsbury’s was blocked by the UK’s competition regulator last year, Walmart initially said it was considering a stock market listing for Asda.

However, in February this year Walmart said it was in talks with possible buyers of a majority stake in Asda. 

Those talks were put on hold in April so management could focus on the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We believe now is the right time to explore options for a third party to invest in our business to accelerate the long-term delivery of our value strategy, both in stores and online,” the Walmart spokesman said.

“There is no certainty that a transaction will happen and we will not be providing any further comments on these discussions.”

Bloomberg reported that Asda could fetch a valuation similar to the £7.3 billion that Sainsbury’s offered in 2018.

Bloomberg News reported in March that private equity firms Apollo Global Management Inc., Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital each submitted first-round offers for Asda earlier this year.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.