Walmart Looking to Sell Controlling Stake in Asda
Walmart is in early discussions regarding the potential sale of its controlling stake in the U.K. supermarket chain Asda, according to a published report.
U.K. newspaper the Mirror reported that the mega-retailer was talking with a small number of interested parties about possibly investing in the business, along with itself, although no decisions have been made on any third-party investments.
Last year, Walmart said it was mulling a future stock market listing for Asda after its attempted merger with competing U.K. grocer Sainsbury’s was blocked by regulators, with future negotiations for such a deal also banned for another decade. The reasons given by regulators for blocking the merger were concern that it would result in higher food and fuel prices and a poorer overall shopping experience.
Both Sainbury’s and Asda pushed back against the claims, countering that they would sell off supermarkets to maintain competition with rival food retailers and reduce prices on everyday items by about 10%.
According to the Mirror, Walmart believes that an IPO is an attractive long-term objective for Asda.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.