Petrol giant EG ‘preferred bidder’ for £6bn Asda

Walmart Inc has picked the founders of Blackburn-based global petrol station and convenience store giant EG Group and their investor, private equity firm TDR Capital, as preferred bidders for its Leeds-based subsidiary Asda, according to a Sky News report on Monday.

The negotiations are said to value Asda at more than £6 billion.

Privately-held EG Group was founded with a single petrol station in Bury as Euro Garages in 2001 by brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa but has grown fast around the world through a series of debt-fueled deals.

London-based TDR Capital bought a stake in EG Group in 2016 for $1.43 billion when it was still known as Euro Garages. 

A formal agreement could still be several days or weeks away, Sky News reported.

TDR and Asda declined to comment.

Ratings agencies have in the past raised concerns about the pace of EG’s acquisitions.

Early this year, EG Group had about £7.3 billion equivalent of debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sky News reported that the Issa-TDR offer is understood to be backed by a syndicate of lenders including Barclays, ING, Lloyds Banking Group and Morgan Stanley.

Any transaction is expected to see Walmart retain a minority stake in Asda.