// Asda’s previous owner Walmart may have to pick up the bill for battle over equal pay
// The Issa brothers and TDR completing their £6.8bn acquisition of Asda in mid-February
// Walmart retains an equity investment in the Big 4 grocer
Asda’s former owner Walmart is reportedly expected to pick up the bill for a long-running legal battle over equal pay if judges rule in workers’ favour.
Despite the Issa brothers and TDR completing their £6.8 billion acquisition of Asda in mid-February, Walmart is facing hefty costs.
The new owners fended off competition from Apollo and Lone Star, two other private equity bidders, which dropped out of the race after failing to agree on the potential cost of the equal pay dispute.
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There is currently an arrangement with Walmart for a level of indemnity that is “sufficiently large” to cover any back payments – given that the Supreme Court upholds previous rulings, The Telegraph reported.
Walmart retains an equity investment in the Big 4 grocer, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the board. It originally bought Asda in 1999 for £6.7 billion.
Meanwhile, the case is the biggest-ever equal pay claim in the private sector in the UK, and was brought by Asda’s mostly female checkout staff.
The staff said they have been discriminated against as the mostly male warehouse workers are on higher wages.
A verdict by the court of appeal in 2019 found in favour of the 35,000 shop workers and said they could compare themselves to the depot workers.
Asda could be facing charges of up to hundreds of millions of pounds if it loses the case.
Leigh Day, which represents the employees, previously estimated the major grocers could be facing backdated pay claims totalling £8 billion.
Asda recently announced it will be scrapping up to 5000 jobs in an effort to simplify the management structure in stores and bolster its online offering.
Bosses are also seeking to hire 4500 staff to pick online orders.