Walmart restarts talks for Asda sale

Asda’s US owner, Walmart has restarted talks to sell its controlling stake in the supermarket.

The US giant originally announced it was in talks with a number of parties following “inbound interest” in February, put plans to sell were put on hold in April to focus on the Covid-19 crisis.

The potential sale comes after the merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s which valued the business at £7bn was blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2019. Back then there was talk about floating the UK supermarket which has a 15% market share, with Walmart understood to still be interested in this option however believe this could be years away off due to market volatility following the pandemic.

Instead it is understood that the US firm, which originally purchased Asda in 1999 is looking for private equity investment with TDR Capital – the owners of Doncaster-based Keepmoat Homes, Apollo Global Management and Lone Star Funds all believed to have submitted first round offers.

According to Walmart, it is the “right time” to restart talks, with Asda having demonstrated its resilience and the key role it plays “in supporting different communities” through the current pandemic.

In a statement, a spokesman for Walmart said, “”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.” Adding that, “There is no certainty that a transaction will happen.”

The news of a potential sale follows an announcement yesterday by the retailer that it expects all office staff to return to its Leeds headquarters from next month.