Walmart has agreed to sell supermarket giant Asda to a group led by billionaire petrol station tycoons Mohsin and Zuber Issa in a £6.8bn deal.
The Lancashire-based brothers behind petrol forecourt firm EG Group teamed up with private equity firm TDR Capital to make the bid.
The deal brings Asda back into British ownership after more than 20 years as part of US giant Walmart.
Asda’s new owners have committed to keeping the retailer’s headquarters in Leeds and has said it will invest to grow its convenience and online operations. Walmart will keep a minority stake in Asda and a seat on the board.
Walmart has been looking to offload Asda for some time. The budget supermarket has been in a tough battle with Lidl and Aldi who have rapidly grown their market share.
Friday’s announcement comes more than a year after a proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s was blocked by competition regulators who said the combined firm would reduce choice for consumers.
Roger Burnley, chief executive officer of Asda, said: “This new ownership opens an exciting new chapter in Asda’s long heritage of delivering great value for UK shoppers
“With our combined investment, expertise and ambition, Asda, Walmart, the Issa brothers and TDR have an incredible opportunity to accelerate our existing strategy and develop an even more exciting offer for our customers as well as strengthen our business for our colleagues.
“In a constantly changing retailing environment, our new ownership will further enhance our resilience, whilst creating significant, additional opportunities to drive growth.
“For Asda colleagues, a strong and growing business is important for our long-term future.”