// Couche Tard is poised as the favourite should Asda’s new owners look to sell off their empire
// The Issas and TDR Capital are working with financial advisers to examine strategic options for the business
Canadian convenience store and petrol stations giant Couche Tard is seen as the most likely buyer of EG Group after the billionaire Issa brothers hired bankers to explore a multibillion sale of their filling stations empire.
Couche Tard and the Issas who bought Asda last year are understood to have held exploratory talks about the possible sale of the brother’s EG Group petrol forecourt empire two years ago.
The Sunday Times reported that while two sides failed to reach an agreement on price or how a deal would be structured, but relations have remained positive between Mohsin Issa and Couche Tard’s founder and executive chairman Alain Bouchard.
- Asda owners Issa brothers consider selling EG Group in £10.8bn deal
- Asda to appoint 150 specialist greengrocers across UK stores
The Issas and TDR Capital, co-owners of EG Group, have hired financial advisers Rothschild, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays to examine strategic options for the business.
Industry sources believe recent acquisitions make a sale of EG’s UK business unlikely.
The brothers, with their private equity backers at TDR, bought Asda for £6.8 billion and confirmed plans to open 200 Asda convenience stores across EG’s forecourts by the end of next year.
The brothers have also acquired the healthy fast-food chain Leon with plans to open stores on its petrol forecourts and potentially in Asda supermarkets.
The sale of EG Group’s international operations could help the Issas to pay down billions of pounds of debts built up in the acquisition of Asda.
A sale of EG’s international operations could enable the Issas to pay down billions of pounds of debt.
EG reported underlying profits of $1.27 billion on sales of $20.7 billion last year and and is expected to fetch a price in excess of £10 billion should it be put up for sale.