Race to buy Asda could be decided this week

The race to buy supermarket giant Asda could be decided as soon as this week, say sources close to the deal. 

Private equity giants Apollo Global Management and rival Lone Star Funds have already tabled bids thought to value the business at about £6.5billion. 

On the right track?: US owner Walmart is expected to maintain a minority stake in Asda after the sale is completed

On the right track?: US owner Walmart is expected to maintain a minority stake in Asda after the sale is completed

On the right track?: US owner Walmart is expected to maintain a minority stake in Asda after the sale is completed

US owner Walmart, which is expected to maintain a minority stake in Asda after the sale is completed, put the chain up for sale after a merger with Sainsbury’s was blocked by competition authorities last year. 

Apollo has enlisted the help of Rob Templeman, the former chief executive of department store Debenhams, while Lone Star has appointed former Asda and Matalan boss Paul Mason to advise. 

Sources said a decision could be made by Friday. 

Asda’s annual sales are around £23billion, making it the UK’s third-largest supermarket after Tesco and Sainsbury’s. It has 633 stores and has been owned by Walmart since 1999. 

It is understood Apollo plans to use Asda’s stores as collateral to raise debt to buy the business. Lone Star, which owns residential property firm Quintain, may convert Asda’s freehold sites into mixed-use developments with housing. 

Other bidders, including the secretive £10billion petrol forecourt giant EG Group based in Blackburn, have since shelved their interest. 

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