Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Walmart to proceed with sale of UK grocery chain Asda

Apollo Global Management, Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital each have submitted first-round offers for Asda

Walmart is looking to divest its UK grocery chain Asda. EPA
Walmart is looking to divest its UK grocery chain Asda. EPA

Walmart is proceeding with the planned sale of UK supermarket chain Asda after attracting initial bids from three buyout firms, even as tightening credit threatens to hamper debt-fuelled dealmaking.

Apollo Global Management, Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital each submitted first-round offers for Asda and have been invited to join the next round of bidding, people familiar with the matter said.

A deal could value the business at more than £7 billion ($8.6bn), one of the sources said.

TDR is teaming up with its portfolio company EG Group, a British gas station owner led by billionaire brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the people said.

Some suitors are concerned about the possibility that the market volatility triggered by the coronavirus outbreak will hurt their access to cheap financing, and there’s no certainty they will proceed with binding offers for the business, the people said.

No final decisions have been made, and Walmart could decide to keep the business for longer if bids don’t meet its expectations, they said.

UK antitrust authorities last year blocked Walmart’s plan to combine Asda with J Sainsbury in a £7.3 billion deal, saying it would lead to higher prices and less choice for shoppers.

Asda is one of the “Big Four” British grocers alongside Tesco, Sainsbury and Wm Morrison Supermarkets. As the most value-oriented among that group, it’s been heavily exposed to pressure from discount chains Aldi and Lidl.

Representatives for Apollo, Asda, EG Group, TDR and Walmart declined to comment. Lone Star didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries outside regular US business hours.

Updated: March 17, 2020 10:06 AM

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