A group comprising the billionaire Issa brothers and TDR Capital is currently the frontrunner to buy the Asda chain.
Asda, which has been owned by the major US retailer Walmart since 1999, could soon return to UK ownership if a consortium made up of the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital is successful in its attempts to buy the retail chain for an estimated £6.5b.
Reports indicate that US private equity firm Apollo Global Management also has a hat still in the ring.
Walmart is selling its majority stake in Asda after a merger with Sainsbury's was blocked on competition grounds; in July 2019, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rejected a deal between Sainsbury’s and Asda and banned them from merging for another 10 years.
The Blackburn-based Issa brothers, Mohsin and Zuber, have an existing interest in Asda through their petrol forecourt business, EG Group, half of which is owned by TDR Capital. Mohsin and Zuber each own 25%. Asda recently announced its expansion into convenience stores and will initially trial 'Asda On the Move' at three of EG Group's fuel station forecourts in Ashby, Leamore and Primley in the Midlands.
Walmart, which would continue to hold a minority stake in Asda after any deal, has so far declined to comment on the sale process.