Asda is set to be acquired by the brothers behind one of Europe’s largest petrol station networks, reports today have suggested.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who run the EG Group, and private equity partner TDR are said to have tabled a bid worth around GBP6.5bn for the Walmart-owned chain.
Acquiring Asda would represent a major coup for the brothers, who have built EG from a single petrol station in Bury in 2001 to over 5,900 sites in the UK, Europe and the US.
TDR Capital, best known for the acquisition of we-buy-any-car owner BCA Marketplace in November last year, bought into EG in 2016 when it merged its European Forecourt Retail Group with the Issa’s Euro Garages.
Walmart is said to consider the EG/TDR offer the leading contender and has moved it ahead of a rival offer by Apollo Capital fronted by former Debenhams boss Rob Templeman.
Lone Star, another US private equity group, dropped its interest last week.
Walmart is said to be keen to retain a minority stake in Asda once a deal completes.
According to the reports, the US retailer is looking for a buyer that can grow the business and fend off competition for the likes of no-frills group Aldi and Lidl and online competitors such as Ocado.
Aldi, today, said it intended to create a further 4,000 new UK jobs next year, adding to the 3,000 permanent roles added in 2020 as part of a major expansion programme.
The value grocer pledged to invest GBP1.3bn by 2021 in new and upgraded stores, distribution centres and further innovations across its business.
The plan is to open 100 new sites in line with a long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025, alongside over 100 store upgrades under its ‘Project Fresh’ initiative.