US retail giant Walmart has edged closer to a sale of Asda after three private equity firms competing to buy the supermarket reportedly made it through to the next stage of bidding.
Buyout firms Apollo Global Management, Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital submitted first round offers for the UK grocer and have been invited to the next stage of bidding.
A deal could potentially value the UK supermarket at more than £7bn, Bloomberg reported.
TDR Capital has reportedly joined forces with EG Group on the bid.
However, market volatility caused by the global outbreak of coronavirus has sparked concerns over access to cheap financing that could put the sale at risk.
Walmart previously confirmed it was in early-stage talks about selling a controlling stake in the UK supermarket after receiving “inbound interest” from a small number of firms.
A person close to the talks said the interested parties were private equity firms, but on Wednesday said the discussions were “informal”.
“Together, we are in discussions with a small number of interested parties who share Walmart and Asda’s commitment and passion to growing the business,” Walmart and Asda said in a joint statement.
“No decisions have been made and we will not be commenting further on these discussions.”
They said Walmart would maintain a significant minority stake in any deal.