LONDON (Reuters) – Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Britain’s No. 2 supermarket, and Asda, the UK arm of Walmart (WMT.N) that is the No. 3 player, are close to securing a merger deal, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Saturday.
The combination, creating a group worth over 10 billion pounds ($13.8 billion), would form a more powerful rival to British market leader Tesco (TSCO.L).
The combined group would retain the Sainsbury’s name, though Asda stores would continue to trade under their existing banner, the source said.
The source said Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive, would lead the combined group.
News of the deal was first reported by Sky News, which
said an announcement could be made as early as Monday, or even sooner if the two sides were forced to accelerate their public disclosures.
A major uncertainty surrounding any combination would be whether the move secures approval from Britain’s competition regulator – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mark Heinrich