Walmart Confirms It's `Seriously' Mulling an IPO for Asda Unit

Galtero Lara
May 18, 2019

Any preparations for going public would "take years", she said.

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

Walmart has confirmed that it is considering a stock market listing for Asda, less than a month after the competition watchdog blocked its audacious £10bn merger plans with Sainsbury's.

McKenna's comments are the first time Walmart has publicly addressed its future strategy for Asda since the Sainsbury's deal collapsed. There have been warnings that this could leave staff worse off.

The decision prompted analysts to speculate that Walmart would try to sell Asda to private equity or consider a stock market listing for the business, which it paid 6.7 billion pounds to acquire in 1999.

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

McKenna said the U.S. retailer did not have a "one size fits all" approach to its divisions around the world and that Asda should focus on improving its operations, including the implementation of £80m of price cuts to take on rivals such as Aldi and Lidl. In addition, there will be additional Click and Collect collection towers installed in Asda stores.

The current Asda chief executive, Roger Burnley, also spoke to the managers at the meeting, which took place on Tuesday, and told them that there would be no change in strategy.

Asda, which calls its staff "colleagues", intends to make £80m of price cuts during the rest of this year and trial new technology.

As well the test on same-day delivery on groceries, Asda aims to roll out its mobile Scan and Go service in more stores.

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