Asda’s chief financial officer has said the £6.8bn sale of the retailer is “not a traditional private equity deal” as the billionaire Issa brothers reflect the grocer’s values and long-term strategic aims.

Finance boss Rob McWilliam told Retail Week that the new majority owners of Asda, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, were the bidders in the race who best reflected Asda’s values. 

“It was a competitive process. With the Issas, this is not a traditional private equity deal, which might have been the case with some of the others. They talk our language,” he said. 

“They talk about customers a lot and being best in class. They’re very much aligned to Asda from a values perspective.”

McWilliam also spoke about how the structure of the deal – with investment firm TDR Capital and former majority owner Walmart both having a stake in the business – would allow for the four parties to each bring something to the table moving forwards. 

“This transaction is ultimately about growth. The combination of the best of Asda, with our customer centricity and trusted brand; with Walmart continuing to provide global innovation and sourcing; and then what the Issa brothers, backed by TDR, will bring with their entrepreneurship, their convenience store and partnership-building experience,” he said. 

“We believe the combination of all four parties will allow us to take a material step forward for customers, UK suppliers and staff.”

In terms of a longer-term strategy, McWilliam said it was hard to say on day one of the new ownership, but confirmed that several of the existing systems and supply partnerships introduced to Asda under Walmart’s ownership would remain. 

He also hinted that future expansion of the retailer’s Asda On the Move convenience brand pilot it rolled out with EG Group at the back end of the year would be accelerated. 

“We see growth in all channels, including superstores. But coronavirus taught us all a lot. We’re well-positioned online. We were able to scale pretty quickly. Quicker than anyone else, in terms of our number of slots. Community convenience has clearly done very well too, and we want to benefit from that,” he said. 

“This is day one and it’s difficult to say where it’ll go, but there are extra bits that can go onto our strategy as a result of this partnership. Mostly, this is about accelerating the existing strategy – lower prices, more channels, particularly online, partnerships with retailers.

“It’s about accelerating our strategy and giving us access to their entrepreneurial experience in convenience retail, which clearly has potential.”

The £6.8bn deal for Asda was announced this afternoon. It is still subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in the first half of 2021.