Tesco is remaining tight-lipped on the future of its South Korean business despite reports that it has chosen a preferred bidder for the chain.
- Tesco selects MBK Partners as preferred bidder for Homeplus, according to reports
- Deal worth around £3.74bn would be Asia’s largest ever private equity deal
- But Tesco has again refused to comment on the sale
The supermarket giant received three separate bids worth around 7 trillion won (£3.88bn) for its Homeplus arm last week, sources close to the bidding process suggested.
Homeplus, which is Tesco’s largest business outside the UK, attracted offers from MBK Partners, Carlyle Group LP and a consortium of Affinity Equity Partners and KKR ahead of what is poised to be Asia’s largest ever private equity deal.
Tesco has now selected MBK Partners as the preferred bidder for the chain, according to Reuters, but the grocer refused to comment on developments this morning.
As previously reported, Tesco was thought to be considering delaying the deal after the won fell by around 10% compared with the pound since June.
Tesco had valued its South Korean business at £4bn, but boss Dave Lewis is eager to offload it sooner rather than later to help shore up the supermarket giant’s battered balance sheet.
The retailer reported its biggest ever statutory loss of £6.38bn in April as Lewis battles to reshape its non-core asset portfolio and plug a £22bn debt.
It has already sold off Tesco Broadband and its entertainment streaming service Blinkbox to TalkTalk, while it is in the process of offloading its stake in data business Dunnhumby. Tesco has also refused to comment on the state of play regarding that sale.