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Walmart to fund Asda scheme as part of United Kingdom supermarket merger deal

01 May 2018

For Walmart, this deal would be beneficial as it would give the company a chance to further reduce its worldwide footprint so that it can focus on the intense competition it is facing in the U.S. from Amazon.com.

Details of the agreement were set out in a stock market announcement two days after Sky News first revealed that the two supermarkets with the second and third biggest share of the sector were in advanced talks over a merger.

The supermarkets say that as a result of the merger they expect to be able to lower prices "by around 10% on numerous products customers buy regularly".

It comes at a time when the major players are battling to remain competitive, with households facing an income squeeze and German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl posing a growing threat.

If approved, the move will see Walmart hold 42% of the issued share capital of the combined business and receive GBP2.98bn of cash (subject to customary completion adjustments), valuing Asda at about GBP7.3bn on a debt-free, cash-free and pension-free basis.

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"This proposed merger represents a unique and bold opportunity, consistent with our strategy of looking for new ways to drive worldwide growth", stated Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart global.

For Boafo, keeping the Sainsbury's and Asda brands "as is" is the best way forward as both Tu and George have their own identities in the clothing market, and appeal to their individual customer bases.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Coupe said divestments were possible, but there were no plans to close shops and customers would be unaffected.

Sainsbury's said customers would see benefits including price cuts of 10% on numerous products that customers buy regularly.

When asked to verify this news, Sainsbury confirmed that they were, in fact, negotiating with Walmart and stated that an announcement would officially be made on Monday 30 April.

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Jefferies analyst James Grzinic said there's a "significant risk" of the purchase being blocked but that Sainsbury would be willing to make concessions.

The combination would create a network of more than 2800 Sainsbury's, Asda and Argos stores, plus several of the UK's most popular retail websites.

After spending nearly 20 years with U.K.'s Asda, an original purchase that was for $11.4 billion and included net debt, Walmart is bidding the chain across the pond a fond farewell for £7.3 billion, or $10.1 billion United States dollars. The company didn't give an expected closing date for the transaction but said regulatory approval which could extend into the second half of calendar 2019.

He added: "The CMA waved through the Tesco-Booker deal and for this deal there is confidence that the price in terms of divestments may well be relatively low". In the UK Asda has been in difficulties for several years under pressure from Aldi and Lidl, who both offer lower prices which have continued to take share from the big four players - Asda in particular.

They said as well that the new combined business would generate at a minimum £500 million or $688.60 million worth of cost savings and create a lowering of prices of approximately 10%.

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Walmart to fund Asda scheme as part of United Kingdom supermarket merger deal