Shares in Liverpool value retailer B&M rise 4% amid reports of a £4.4bn bid from Asda

National Sunday newspaper reported that Asda, owned by US parent Walmart, is in the “early stages” of preparing an offer for B&M which employs hundreds of people at its Speke HQ. Tony McDonough reports

B&M is to create 60 jobs at a new outlet at Project Jennifer in Liverpool


Supermarket giant Asda is lining up a £4.4bn bid for Liverpool-based discount retailer B&M, according to a media report on Sunday – sending B&M’s shares up 4% on Monday morning.

The Sunday Times reported that Asda, owned by US parent Walmart, is in the “early stages” of preparing an offer for B&M which employs hundreds of people at its headquarters and main distribution centre in Speke.

National network

B&M operates more than 540 stores across the country, including over two dozen in the Liverpool city region employing hundreds more people.

It is in the process of opening a new outlet in the Project Jennifer scheme in Great Homer Street, creating 60 jobs.

Neither Asda nor B&M has so far offered any comment on the story.

Humble beginnings

B&M began with a single store in Blackpool in 1976. In 2005 Manchester brothers Simon and Bobby Arora, who ran a successful wholesale business, bought the chain from Private Equity firm Phildrew Ventures.

At that time it was still based in Blackpool and its 20 stores generated annual sales of £65m.

The Arora’s later relocated the business to Speke  and now in 2016/17 annual revenues were up almost 20% to more than £2.4bn with pre-tax profits soaring to £190.1m.

Market flotation

In 2012 private equity house Clayton Dubilier & Rice bought a 60% stake in the business and three years ago it was floated on the stock exchange with a value of £2.7bn. The Arora family retains a 15% stake.

B&M, whose chairman is Liverpool-born former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, was valued at £3.4bn when markets closed before the reports of the bid last Friday.

Asda has been hot by falling sales in recent times


Based on the usual takeover premium Asda would have to stump up at least £4.4bn to mount a successful bid for the company.

Tough times

Asda has been through a tough trading period, suffering 11 consecutive quarters of falling sales.

It has been hit hard by the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl and acquiring B&M would offer a powerful weapon in the battle to win back customers in the value retail market.

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