Retail executives plot £6.5bn Asda bid

Former Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman and former Asda chief executive Paul Mason are working with private equity groups on a £6.5 billion bid for Asda.

Sky News has reported that formal takeover bids are expected to be tabled next month, as Walmart looks to offload its majority stake in the big four supermarket chain, following the failure of its merger with Sainsbury's.

The auction is likely to conclude before the end of the year, with Walmart planning to retain a minority stake.

Templeman is on board with Apollo Global Management, who he worked with during its ownership of bookmaker Gala Coral, which is now part of GVC Holdings.

Mason, who was also previously chief executive at Somerfield, is working with Lone Star Funds on the potential bid. He has also chaired retailers including Cath Kidston, Matalan, New Look and Dr Martens.

Earlier this week, Asda reported that its online sales doubled in the past quarter, after the pandemic caused a “structural shift” in customer shopping habits.

Like-for-like sales were up 3.8 per cent for the three months to 30 June, with delivery capacity increasing by 65 per cent during the period.

However, the latest Kantar figured showed that Asda’s market share dropped by 0.6 per cent to 14.3 per cent during the 12 weeks to 9 August.

Walmart said Asda would focus on expanding its online sales capacity.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said the pandemic had “accelerated online capacity expansion to meet levels we had anticipated reaching in eight years within a matter of weeks”.

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