The Issa brothers, founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, and investment funds managed by TDR Capital, have together agreed to acquire a majority stake in Asda, Walmart’s wholly-owned UK business, for an enterprise value of €7.5bn (£6.8bn), on a debt-free and cash-free basis. Walmart will retain an equity investment in the business, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the Board.
Under CEO Roger Burnley and his management team, Asda has demonstrated huge resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic, almost doubling its online operations in a matter of months. With support from its new ownership, Asda will continue to invest in accelerating its omnichannel offer and in the resilience of its supply chain, including sourcing more food from UK farmers and maintaining its commitment to supporting domestic suppliers and small businesses.
Asda will remain headquartered in Leeds, from where it built its heritage and roots, and will continue to be a significant contributor to the UK economy and tax base. The business will continue to be led by Roger Burnley who will form part of Asda’s Board alongside representatives appointed by the Issa brothers, TDR Capital and Walmart. As well as accelerating Asda’s existing strategy, the Issa brothers will bring significant additional expertise, particularly in convenience retail and brand partnerships, drawing on their experience of building a global convenience retailer with more than 6,000 sites. They are well placed to support Asda in developing a compelling convenience retail proposition and taking it to market and to advise on the development of strategic brand partnerships that will better enable Asda to address multiple consumer missions. Through these and other initiatives, the Asda leadership team and the company’s new ownership will be focused on building a differentiated operating model that will drive competitive out-performance and long-term growth.
Judith McKenna, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart International said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this deal today, which we believe creates the right ownership structure for Asda, building on its 71 year-heritage, whilst bringing a new entrepreneurial flair, not only to Asda, but also to UK retailing. I’m delighted that Walmart will retain a significant financial stake, a board seat, and will continue as a strategic partner. Asda has been a powerhouse of innovation for the rest of the Walmart world, and we look forward to continuing to learn from them in the future. This important combination will continue to keep customers and colleagues at Asda’s heart, which is important to us all.”
Roger Burnley, Chief Executive Officer of Asda, said: “This new ownership opens an exciting new chapter in Asda’s long heritage of delivering great value for UK shoppers. With our combined investment, expertise and ambition; Asda, Walmart, the Issa brothers and TDR have an incredible opportunity to accelerate our existing strategy and develop an even more exciting offer for our customers as well as strengthen our business for our colleagues. In a constantly changing retailing environment, our new ownership will further enhance our resilience, whilst creating significant, additional opportunities to drive growth. For Asda colleagues, a strong and growing business is important for our long-term future. I want to thank every single one of our people for the incredible work they do serving our communities, and together our focus will remain on building a better Asda for the benefit of all.”
Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “We are very proud to be investing in Asda, an iconic British business that we have admired for many years. Asda’s customer-centric philosophy, focus on operational excellence and commitment to the communities in which it operates are the same values that we have built EG Group on. Asda’s performance through the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fundamental strength and resilience of the business, and we are excited to support Roger and his team as they continue to reposition the business to drive long-term growth. We believe that our experience with EG Group, including our expertise around convenience and brand partnerships and our successful partnership with TDR Capital, can help to accelerate and execute that growth strategy. After a successful period as part of Walmart we are looking forward to helping Asda build a differentiated business that will continue to serve customers brilliantly in communities across the UK.”
Gary Lindsay at TDR Capital said: “Asda is a strong and well-managed business with one of the leading brands in UK retail. We are proud to be investing alongside Mohsin and Zuber, who have built EG Group into a global convenience retailer and will now bring that experience to bear at Asda. We look forward to supporting them, and Roger Burnley and the management team at Asda, to build on the business’s inherent strengths and drive long-term sustainable growth.”