Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is planning a major move into the fast-expanding African market, announcing today that it is in talks to buy South Africa’s third-largest retailer, Massmart.
The move, which would be worth $4.2bn (£2.65bn), will be overseen by Asda’s chairman, Andy Bond, who is responsible for operations in Africa. Wal-Mart is offering 148 rand (£13.40) a share for Massmart, which is nearly 10% higher than its last closing price.
The acquisition would be Africa’s biggest deal in more than a decade, and Wal-Mart’s largest since it bought the UK supermarket chain Asda in 1999. In May, it agreed to acquire 194 stores in the UK from the Danish discount chain Netto for nearly £800m, although competition regulators are forcing it to sell 25% of the shops.