Sainsbury's and Asda in £12bn merger

ExpressJ Sainsbury and Asda owners Wal Mart are in the final stages of an announcement to join forces

ExpressJ Sainsbury and Asda owners Wal Mart are in the final stages of an announcement to join forces

The two high street giants are in "advanced talks" to create a combined business which would become Britain's biggest supermarket group.

Asda has about a 15.6% share of the United Kingdom grocery market, Kantar estimates, a figure that has been steadily eroding for the past two years, while Sainsbury's has around 15.8%.

Retro 90s fashion is a huge trend on the high street at the moment but that nostalgia has now spilled over into food retail as the supermarket giant Sainsbury's attempts a blockbuster deal that will result in it seizing back the United Kingdom grocery crown it surrendered to Tesco in 1995. The enlarged supermarket group would have almost 3,000 stores and annual sales of more than £50bn.

Monteyne says the two retailers have different fortes that will enable them to improve the other's performance: "Asda has been struggling in the United Kingdom to deal with both the threat of discounters and the growth of e-commerce, particularly in non-food", he says.

Three sources with knowledge of the situation said Walmart would take a minority stake in the combined business.

Sainsbury?s had been scheduled to release full-year results on Wednesday. Asda has seen two years of falls.

He is attempting to drive through a colossal £15bn merger between Sainsbury's and Asda, as he looks to leapfrog Tesco and fend off Amazon, Aldi and Lidl in one fell swoop.

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"The unconditional clearance by the CMA of Tesco/Booker gobsmacked everybody", said Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.

In recent years Walmart has shifted its traditional approach from building overseas businesses itself to partnering with local players, for example in China. McKenna is a Briton and a veteran of Asda, where she served as both COO and finance chief. One of the sources said he would stay at the combined group.

Some expect that a deal could be approved after the CMA's decision to allow Tesco to take over Booker, the UK's largest grocery wholesaler in a deal worth £3.7 billion. In 2016 Sainsbury's purchased general merchandise retailer Argos for 1.1 billion pounds.

Asda stores would continue to trade under their own brand, separate from the more upmarket Sainsbury's, the sources said.

A merger would create a retail giant with 2,800 stores, representing 31.4% of the United Kingdom grocery market - more than Tesco - worth £15bn including debt.

Before the deal can be given a green light, economists at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are expected to spend months poring over a map of the combined group's store network.

However, the CMA's surprise unconditional waving through of Tesco's Booker deal may have changed the regulatory landscape.

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