Walmart is working with Rothschild in a renewed attempt to sell UK grocer Asda, two people familiar with the situation told this news service.
Walmart opened the sale process to “a small number of interested parties” in response to inbound interest, the first person familiar said.
The process is still “early-stage”, the first person added, while the other one said the negotiations could be more advanced.
The bidders in the mix are all private equity funds, both people familiar and a sector banker said. If a sale materialises, Walmart is likely to maintain a “significant stake” in Asda, the first person familiar added.
After the UK Competition and Markets Authority blocked Asda’s proposed GBP 7.3bn cash-and-shares merger with fellow UK grocer J Sainsbury last spring, Walmart and Asda executives were reported as saying that an IPO of Asda was possible.
If the current sale process comes to nought, Walmart could yet opt for an IPO of Asda, the first person familiar said. A listing is an “attractive” option, this person said.
Walmart declined to comment. Rothschild was not available for comment in time for publication.