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Walmart to sell majority stake in Asda for $8.8 bil.

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LONDON — Walmart has reached a deal to sell Asda, the British retailer it acquired in 1999, for an enterprise value of £6.8 billion (about $8.8 billion).

The purchasers are the Issa brothers, founders and co-chief executive officers of the EG Group, a global convenience store retailer based in Blackburn, U.K., and investment funds managed by the British private equity firm TDR Capital LLP. Walmart will retain a stake in Asda, which aims to expand by supplementing its large supermarkets with smaller neighborhood shops.

“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 U.K. retailing,” said Walmart International president and CEO Judith McKenna, who had served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Asda prior to joining Walmart.

“I’m delighted that Walmart will retain a significant financial stake, a board seat, and will continue as a strategic partner,” McKenna added. 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.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

Walmart says that Mohsin and Zuber Issa, backed by TDR Capital, will support and accelerate Asda’s existing strategy, which is anchored in delivering low prices and convenience to customers however they want to shop. Under the new ownership, Asda will continue to work closely with suppliers to provide the best value for customers in the categories that matter most to them. The new owners promise to invest £1 billion to strengthen Asda’s operations and supply chain, and accelerate the retailer’s existing strategy, Walmart said.

Asda will remain headquartered in the English city of Leeds, and will continue to be led by current chief executive officer Roger Burnley, who will sit on Asda’s board along with representatives appointed by the Issa brothers, TDR Capital and Walmart.

“This new ownership opens an exciting new chapter in Asda’s long heritage of delivering great value for U.K. shoppers,” Burnley said. “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.”

“We are very proud to be investing in Asda, an iconic British business that we have admired for many years,” Mohsin and Zuber Issa said in a statement. “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.