Walmart set to pay £1.5bn for Massmart

City A.M. Reporter
WALMART is to pay 16.5bn rand (£1.5bn) for control of Massmart, giving the world’s largest retailer a substantial presence in South Africa and paving the way for further expansion across the continent.

The Wal-Mart tie-up will help discount retailer Massmart speed up expansion in sub-Saharan Africa and increase its food retailing business, the South African company’s chief executive said yesterday.

The deal will also likely pit Wal-Mart, which has long battled with organised labour in the United States, against South Africa’s powerful trade unions, some of which have threatened to strike against the US giant.

Massmart’s chief executive, Grant Pattison, said the company would retain its local listing and South African management after the deal.

The two companies said in a joint statement Wal-Mart would pay 148 rand per share for a 51 per cent stake in the South African company, which has a presence in 14 countries in Africa.

Wal-Mart said in September it was looking to buy up to all of the South African retailer, but scaled that back to more than 50 per cent – to ensure it took control – last month.