Suppliers could be squeezed by Asda Sainsbury's merger

Posted May 01, 2018

Walmart (which now owns Asda) will retain a 42% holding in the combination.

It will see Asda owner Walmart hold 42% of the new business and receive £2.97 billion in cash, valuing Asda at £7.3 billion. "We think these 75 stores would be the absolute minimum that the CMA will want disposed of".

Sainsbury's and Walmart's Asda are in talks to create Britain's biggest supermarket group, a combination which would surpass Tesco's grocery market share and be worth up to £15billion (R254.5bn).

"Even if we have to divest stores, they will be sold as trading entities", he told BBC Radio.

Sainsbury's has estimated a range of stores could be sold as part of its modelling ahead of the deal.

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Sainsbury's said the deal would deliver a double digit rise in earnings by the second full year post-completion, generate synergies of at least 500 million pounds and enable prices to be lowered by about 10 percent on many products.

Pressure was intensifying on the competition watchdog to launch an immediate inquiry into the mammoth merger, with analysis by The Daily Telegraph showing more than 1 in 10 of the supermarket's stores overlapped.

In the wake of the £12 billion deal between the two grocery giants, Mike Coupe was filmed by ITV News singing some of the musical theatre tune in between interviews. Sainsbury's is now valued at £5.9bn and Asda at £7.3bn.

Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne pointed to the execution risks, noting Morrisons-Safeway lost 28 percent of their sales through a combination of store sales, integration problems and culture clash when they merged. "It's a proud Yorkshire business and I'm a proud Yorkshire man so Asda, I'm delighted to say, will remain in Yorkshire with its headquarters in Yorkshire because this proposal is about a twin brand strategy with Asda and Sainsbury's remaining very much separate brands". Two said Walmart would be the biggest shareholder, with a stake of around 40%.

The cash and shares deal could also provide a potential exit route for Walmart, as Asda, which it bought in 1999 for £6.7 billion, has been struggling to grow over the last five years, with discounters Aldi and Lidl attracting its price-conscious customers.

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Mr Coupe added: "This is a transformational opportunity to create a new force in United Kingdom retail, which will be more competitive and give customers more of what they want now and in the future".

"We believe the combination offers a unique and exciting opportunity that benefits customers and colleagues", noted Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon.

Sainsbury's and Asda have admitted that store disposals could be possible following their £12bn merger, casting doubt over thousands of supermarket jobs.

Separately, Sainsbury's revealed that its full year pre-tax profit fell 19% to £409 million.

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