INDIAN-ORIGIN UK billionaire brothers-Mohsin and Zuber Issa-are likely to take over Asda supermarket from Walmart as they and the private equity firm TDR Capital have been emerged as preferred bidders.
Issa brothers have already been associated with the supermarket retailer through EG Group, their petrol forecourt business.
According to reports, the brothers along with TDR Capital have placed a bid that valued the UK’s third largest grocery chain at £6.5bn.
If the deal is through, Asda could return to UK ownership in two decades. The supermarket has been owned by US giant Walmart since 1999.
The Blackburn-born brothers each own a quarter of £10 billion EG Group. TDR Capital now owns half of the group.
Initially called Euro Garages, the Issa brothers founded EG in 2001, expanding it from a single site in Bury, Greater Manchester to owning almost 6,000 sites across 10 countries.
Their parents came to the UK from Gujarat, India, in the 1960s. They attended their local comprehensive school in Blackburn while their father worked in a textile factory.
The recent acquisitions of the group including forecourt groups in the US, Little Chef roadside cafes and a major Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in the UK.
In 2019 the business reported revenues of more than €20bn (£17.9bn).
The brothers donate 2.5 per cent of their wealth every year to charity and their Issa Foundation supports local hospitals and deprived schoolchildren.
The brothers were placed in the ninth position in the Eastern Eye Asian Rich List 2019 with an estimated worth of £1.5 billion.
The Asian Rich List profiles the top 101 wealth creators of Asian origin in Britain.
Walmart is selling a majority stake in Asda after a merger with Sainsbury’s was blocked on competition grounds and is expected to retain a minority stake in the supermarket as part of the deal.
It is learnt that the US private equity firm Apollo Global Management also remains in the race.
Recently, Asda said that it will expand into convenience stores and will initially trial “Asda On the Move” at three of EG Group’s fuel station forecourts in Ashby, Leamore and Primley in the Midlands.
Leeds-based Asda operates more than 600 stores in the UK.