Walmart said it has revived talks on a potential sale of its UK grocery unit Asda, after the potential multibillion-dollar deal was put on hold earlier this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s biggest retailer and Asda are in discussions with a “small number” of suitors interested in acquiring a stake in the British business after renewed inbound interest, reported The Financial Times.
The US group said in a statement on Monday that it was in talks with “a small number of third-party investors” to take an interest in the grocer, “following renewed inbound interest”.
It added: “There is no certainty that a transaction will happen and we will not be providing any further comments on these discussions.”
Walmart has also been considering a float of Leeds-based Asda, which has more than 600 stores, after UK competition authorities last year blocked a proposed tie-up with local rival J Sainsbury. While Walmart put the sale talks on hold for the pandemic, it remained keen to reduce its exposure to the highly competitive UK market and focus on faster-growing markets such as China and India.
The company did not identify Asda’s suitors. Private equity firms including KKR have considered making a move for the chain. One of KKR’s advisers, Tony De Nunzio, previously ran the UK company.