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Walmart Sells U.K. Banner Asda in $10 Billion Deal

Walmart Sells U.K. Banner Asda in $10 Billion Deal

UNITED KINGDOM - After spending almost 20 years with U.K.’s Asda, an original purchase that was for $11.4 billion and included net debt, Walmart is bidding the chain across the pond a fond farewell for £7.3 billion, or $10.1 billion USD.

To whom is the U.S.-based retailer selling its U.K.-based chain, you ask? Sainsbury is picking up Asda to create a market-leading alliance, according to Wall Street Journal.

The deal values Asda at almost $10.1 billion, or about 11 times its operating profits—this is a far cry from when Walmart picked up the retail chain in 1999, when it was running at about 18 times of its operating profits, the news source revealed in another article.

Walmart storefront

The Wall Street Journal goes on to explain that, with this sale, Walmart will gain almost £3 billion, or $4.14 billion USD, in cash. The remainder of the sale will be a 42 percent stake in the combined company, which was originally worth £4.3 billion when the deal was announced but, by midday Monday, shot up to about £5 billion after Monday’s open and Sainsbury’s stock surged. This deal ties Walmart to the stake for four years, but, after two of those years, it can reduce its stake to just under 30 percent.

The news source relays that Judith McKenna, President and Chief Executive Officer for Walmart International, said that the retailer’s moves outside the States are a result of its “thoughtful” portfolio decisions, “perhaps in a way we haven’t done before.”

Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart"We believe the Combination offers a unique and exciting opportunity that benefits customers and colleagues,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon, according to a press release. “As a company, we’ve benefited from doing business in the U.K. for many years, and we look forward to working closely with Sainsbury’s to deliver the benefits of the combination."

With the newly-combined company, Sainsbury and Asda have found £500 million of cost savings by comparing sourcing books and taking on lower prices for comparable products, the news source shares. The combined company, however, will have to go through a protracted antitrust review.

Asda storefront

Walmart’s press release expresses the following benefits of this transaction:

  • Creating one of the U.K.’s leading grocery, general merchandise, and clothing retail groups, with combined revenues of c.£51 billion for 2017A
  • Enabling investment in areas that will benefit customers the most: price, quality, range, and creating more flexible ways to shop, across Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Argos. It is expected that value will be passed on to customers through significant price reductions
  • Maintaining both the Sainsbury’s and Asda brands and enabling them to sharpen their distinct customer propositions and attract new customers
  • Offering more opportunities for over 330,000 colleagues at all levels within the enlarged and more resilient group, drawing on the shared values and heritage of both businesses
  • Combining a complementary network of more than 2,800 Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Argos stores and several of the UK’s most visited retail websites to create greater choice for customers through more store formats and channels, with a combined 47 million customer transactions per week
  • Generating net synergies, post-price investments, across the enlarged group of at least £500 million. These are comprised largely of buying benefits, opening Argos in Asda stores and operational efficiencies. There are no planned Sainsbury’s or Asda store closures as a result of the Combination
  • A comprehensive range of channels and formats across supercenters, superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and digital

For more details on this transaction, you can check out the press release in its entirety here.

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Walmart Asda Sainsbury's