Retail giant Walmart is set to acquire relatively young online retailer Jet.com for more than £2.3 billion as it attempts to catch up with Amazon.
The parent company of Asda, which operates more than 11,000 stores globally, said the purchase of Jet.com represented “another jolt of entrepreneurial spirit being injected into Walmart”.
Jet.com chief executive Marc Lore will join Walmart in a senior role as part of the deal and continue to own 25 per cent of the online retailer that he founded in 2014.
There are speculations that Walmart’s current head of ecommerce, Neil Ashe, will leave the company to make way for Lore.
“We believe the acquisition of Jet accelerates our progress across these priorities,” Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said.
“Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we’re pursuing will happen quicker, and we’ll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time. Our customers will win. It’s another jolt of entrepreneurial spirit being injected into Walmart.”
Industry analysts have observed that Walmart was slow to catch on to the online retail revolution, and that its acquisition of Jet.com – a loss-making start-up – is a sign that its online growth has failed to challenge Amazon.
Walmart’s online sales stood at around £10.5 billion last year, compared to Amazon’s £75 billion.