// Walmart resumes talks with bidders over the potential sale of a stake in Asda
// The sale was paused when Asda was left to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
Asda parent company Walmart has restarted talks over the potential sale of a stake in the Big 4 grocer, more than a year after its failed merger with rival grocer Sainsbury’s.
The US giant said on Monday that it was in discussions with “a small number of third-party investors” who are interested in buying a stake in Asda.
The sale was put on pause in April while Asda’s management team dealt with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Walmart had told Asda’s leadership team to focus on day-to-day business.
In recent months, Asda had been eyed by private equity firms which could have valued the grocer at £7 billion.
Walmart said Asda remained resilient through the pandemic, which boosted UK grocers after shoppers stocked up on essentials.
In May, Asda said that sales for the first quarter of 2020 increased by 3.5 per cent against the same period last year, as shoppers cleared supermarket shelves at the start of the lockdown.
The discussions come after the CMA blocked Walmart’s proposed sale of Asda to fellow Big 4 grocer Sainsbury’s because of claims that it would have led to less competition and increased prices.
“Walmart and Asda have restarted conversations with a small number of third-party investors who are interested in acquiring a stake in Asda and partnering with Walmart, following renewed inbound interest,” Walmart said.
“The pandemic has demonstrated Asda’s resilience and the key role we play in supporting different communities.
“We have a clear strategy and a long heritage in delivering value for customers and with this in mind, we believe now is the right time to explore options for a third party to invest in our business to accelerate the long-term delivery of our value strategy, both in stores and online.
“There is no certainty that a transaction will happen and we will not be providing any further comments on these discussions.”