Sainsbury's to buy Asda from Walmart in $10.1 billion deal

Sainsbury's

Simran Jagdev, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, added: "The deal points to the highly competitive United Kingdom grocery market, which has always been concentrated in the hands of the top four players - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons - but is now facing an onslaught from new challengers".

Asked by Channel 4 News whether he will personally be in the money as a result of the merger and what is in it for him, he said: "I am a big shareholder in Sainsbury's, my shareholding is a matter of public record, you can see how many shares I own".

"Of course, it is a dynamic and changing market but we have said categorically we will not close any stores as a result of this deal, and that is a very important reassurance for colleagues in both businesses". Sainsbury's market value, before trading opened on Monday, was £5.9bn.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "There are clear benefits from the two supermarkets joining forces, particularly when it comes to leveraging their combined buying power, which should result in both lower prices for customers and higher margins for the business".

The group - which also owns Argos - said the merger would create a network of more than 2,800 Sainsbury's, Asda and Argos locations.

Asda has a strong presence in the north of England and Sainsbury's in the south.

"Store closures demanded by the CMA will impact the clothing market share if both Tu and George are forced to shutter stores, therefore convincing shoppers to purchase online rather than switching to other value players will be crucial".

After a two-year lock-up period, Walmart is allowed to reduce its stake in the combined group to 29.9 per cent, and after four years could exit completely.

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But Walmart has been working to adapt to the various landscapes and differing consumer behaviours, and teaming up with local partners when it realizes it can't go alone.

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe will retain that position in the merged company, which will keep the Sainsbury's and Asda brands. Asda will continue to be run from Leeds with its own CEO, Roger Burnley, who will join the group operating board of the combined business.

The retailer is also making the Tu ranges easily accessible to Argos customers through the Argos website, available for home delivery or collection from over 1,000 Argos and Sainsbury's stores across the UK.

However, the FPB is concerned by comments made by Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe this morning, referring to the new larger supermarket being able to achieve better discounts from suppliers.

"We think it is a great deal all around".

It would meanwhile have a combined 24 percent of the British grocery market, beating Tesco on 22 percent, according to data published by retail consultancy Euromonitor.

The total sales from Walmart International reached $118.07 billion in 2018 fiscal, a slump of about 14 percent from sales of $136.5 billion in the fiscal year ended 2014.

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