Published: Sat, May 18, 2019
Economy | By

Walmart mulls stock market listing for United Kingdom arm Asda

Walmart mulls stock market listing for United Kingdom arm Asda

News of a possible float of Britain's fourth-largest supermarket comes only weeks after United Kingdom antitrust regulators blocked a planned merger with rival J Sainsbury Plc.

Ms McKenna said that any preparations for an IPO would "take years".

He said new services were as important to customers as price and so the group would be testing ideas including same-day grocery deliveries and more use of technology such as scanning goods and paying via mobile phone in stores. Last year, it was announced that Asda had agreed to be taken over by Sainsbury's in a £7bn deal, but the Competition and Markets Authority last month blocked the deal on concerns it could increase prices, reduce quality and choice, or deliver "a poorer shopping experience for all their United Kingdom shoppers". Bloomberg News reported at the time that Walmart was exploring options for the unit, with an IPO one of the alternatives on the table. The decision closed a potential exit route for Walmart from the United Kingdom and led to speculation that Walmart would try to sell Asda to private equity or consider a listing for the business.

Walmart acquired Asda in 1999 in £6.7 billion deal. An Asda IPO could give the unit a similar structure to Walmart's separately listed Mexico and Central America business.

"Walmart does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to operating its global markets, but a consistent focus on strong local businesses powered by Walmart".

Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna told Asda staff at its mid-year meeting Tuesday in Leeds, northern England, that the world's largest retailer did "not have a one size fits all approach to operating its international markets".

Burnley also confirmed Asda would "accelerate our price position", briefing staff on plans to invest £80 million ($103.3 million) in the price throughout the rest of 2019.

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