Asda bidding war enters final phase as private equity rivals circle
THE future of Asda could be decided this week, as private equity firms finalise bids for the £6.5bn supermarket chain.
Rivals Apollo Global Management and Lone Star Funds are understood to have been preparing offers to buy Britain’s third-largest supermarket from US giant Walmart. Bids are due today.
Both companies drafted in retail veterans to help advise on their offers, hiring Rob Templeman, the former boss of Debenhams, and Paul Mason, ex- Asda chief executive, respectively.
The firms have been seen as the only two likely bidders in the race, although there has been talk of potential further interest from a third bidder, such as the owners of EG Group, Blackburn’s Issa brothers.
Walmart has been seeking a way to offload the operations to allow it to focus on other, more lucrative markets, such as India.
The US giant has also been linked to a possible deal with Microsoft to acquire the international operations of TikTok, the social media app owned by ByteDance of China.
Asda, TDR and Apollo declined to comment. Lone Star and EG Group did not respond to requests for comment. The process to sell Asda was kicked off after plans to merge the supermarket chain with its rival Sainsbury’s were blocked by competition regulators last year.
However, talks with private equity firms had to be temporarily paused earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They ramped up again over the summer.
Walmart is expected to keep a minority stake in Asda if a private equity sale goes ahead.