The petrol station billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa are challenging some of the world’s biggest buyout funds in the battle to buy Asda.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe Blackburn-based brothers, whose parents came to Britain in the Sixties “with nothing”, are considering a bid on the Walmart-owned supermarket through their EG Group empire, according to City sources.
Walmart announced it was talking to interested parties about offloading a stake in Asda this week. It has hired Rothschild to advise on a sale or stock market float.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt is understood that the private equity firms Apax Partners and KKR, the former Boots owner, have held discussions with Walmart. Speculation was circulating this weekend that Blackstone may also make a move for Asda, though insiders at the firm insisted the US fund had no interest in making a bid for the supermarket.
Backed by private equity firm TDR Capital, EG has built a forecourt empire across nearly 6,000 locations. The fiercely secretive siblings opened their first site in Bury in 2001.
The company is also the world’s third-largest convenience store operator, serving 17 million customers worldwide across a mixture of petrol stations and standalone sites. It generated €23bn (£20bn) in revenue last year.
Last October, EG held discussions with investment banks ahead of a potential £10bn stock market float. The move would have catapulted the Issas towards the top of Britain’s rich list – ahead of the likes of Sir Richard Branson – with a net worth of £5bn.
EG’s spending spree shows no sign of abating. It appointed Rothschild and PwC in January to gatecrash the £4.5bn sale of Australian forecourt operator Caltex to Alimentation Couche-Tard.
An acquisition of Asda, one of Britain’s biggest forecourt operators, could hand EG control of more than 300 petrol stations, with the potential to launch Asda branded convenience stores across its portfolio.
Walmart said on Wednesday that a float was its favoured option. All parties declined to comment.