Walmart mulls stock market listing for UK arm Asda

18 May, 2019, 04:46 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Walmart Confirms It's ‘Seriously’ Mulling an IPO for Asda Unit

Judith McKenna, Walmart's worldwide chief executive, said Walmart was "seriously considering a path to an IPO - a public listing".

But she cautioned that any preparations for an IPO would "take years", according to comments released by Asda afterwards.

Walmart has confirmed it is considering an IPO for British supermarket arm Asda, after its proposed merger with domestic rival Sainsbury's was blocked by the United Kingdom regulator last month.

Supermarket chain Asda could be floated, staff were told on Wednesday, after the competition authorities derailed its proposed tie-up with rival J Sainsbury.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) vetoed the deal, saying it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at petrol stations across the United Kingdom, with shoppers left "worse off" and quality affected.

Walmart has revamped its worldwide portfolio by selling a majority stake in its Brazilian business and acquiring a majority interest in Indian e-commerce leader Flipkart Group in its biggest-ever deal.

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The remarks by Ms McKenna are the first time that Walmart has spoken about the future of its United Kingdom operations since the CMA blocked the deal.

The U.K. remains one of the most competitive retail markets in the world. Union leaders said they had demanded an urgent meeting with Asda's bosses to seek reassurances for staff about the future of the company.

GMB national officer Gary Carter said there was "uproar among the workforce" over plans to change Asda employees' contracts.

He called on the supermarket to address that "debacle" before any stock market listing took place.

"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", she added.

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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