Walmart has put in a non-binding proposal to acquire the leading general merchandise and home improvement retailer, with Asda chairman Andy Bond to oversee operations.
The offer, at ZAR148 (around $21) per share, is indicative and non-binding at this stage but, if successful, Walmart plans to put forward a cash offer to acquire Massmart Holdings Limited.
288-strong Massmart has stores in 14 South African countries and is the third largest distributors of consumer goods in Africa. The group, which is worth almost £4bn, is divided into four retail divisions, each focused, says the company, "on high-volume, low-margin, low-cost distribution of mainly branded consumer goods." It operates discount wholesale brand Makro, as well as 76 Massbuild outlets trading in hardware and DIY, under the Builders Warehouse, Builders Express and Builders Trade Depot brands.
Asda chairman Andy Bond will oversee operations in Africa as part of his role as executive vice president of Walmart. He said of the move: "South Africa presents a compelling growth opportunity for Walmart and offers a platform for growth and expansion in other African countries. South Africa possesses attractive market dynamics, favorable demographic trends and a growing economy."
Walmart currently operates more than 8,613 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. Earlier this year, Asda announced that it had reached an agreement with Dansk Supermarked A/S to purchase Netto Foodstores Ltd
A further announcement is expected from Massmart on November 8.