The future of ‘Big Four’ grocer Asda could be decided as early as this week, as rival private equity firms reportedly finalise their bids.
According to The Telegraph, bids for the grocer, which is valued at around £6.5bn, are due today (Monday 7 September) with private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Lone Star Funds understood to be preparing offers.
Last month, Sky News reported that former Asda and Debenhams chief executives Paul Mason and Rob Templeman have been lined up to front the bids from Apollo Global Management and Lone Star Funds respectively.It comes after Walmart, which owns Asda, is said to have resumed discussions regarding a potential sale for a majority stake in the ‘Big Four’ grocer.
Templeman, the former CEO of Debenhams, has previously run Halfords, Homebase and Harveys Furnishing Group, and reportedly has a “long-standing” relationship with Apollo Global Management.
In April last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked a proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda after finding it would lead to “increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK”.
The merger was said to be worth around £12bn and would have seen the grocer’s leapfrog Tesco as the country’s largest supermarket. However, in its final report the CMA found that UK shoppers and motorists would be “worse off” if Sainsbury’s and Asda were to merge.