Calls for greater regulation could halt £12bn Asda deal

24th January 2023 | Jack Oliver

Calls from trade union GMB for greater Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) powers could see a potential merger deal involving Asda worth £12bn halted by regulators.

The owners of Asda, Blackburn-based brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, are reportedly planning to merge the supermarket with petrol forecourts business EG Group.

The plans being explored by both companies would see a retail group consisting of more than 581 supermarkets, 700 petrol forecourts and 100 convenience stores in Britain, according to The Times.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “This proposed merger raises the spectre of a private equity black hole on the UK high street.  

“More and more of our essential household goods – from food to fuel – are controlled by unaccountable private equity backers. 

“This merger isn’t in the interests of the 200,000 impacted workers, or the UK economy, or even consumers.”

The Issa brothers and London-based group TDR Capital have owned EG Group since 2016, and later acquired Asda in 2021 for £6.8bn. EG Group’s other brands include Euro Garages, Coopland and Leon, operating over 6,600 sites globally.

Talks over the merger come ahead of a planned refinancing of EG Group, which reportedly has £7bn worth of debt due in 2025.

The news comes after recent reports that the billionaire brothers are looking to sell £1bn worth of their US petrol station estate.

In October, Asda acquired 132 Co-Op sites, in a deal valued around £600m.


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