Asda boss Roger Burnley says stock market listing for Leeds-based supermarket could take two to three years

Big four supermarket Asda could potentially float on the stock market in the next two or three years, according to its boss.

Asda chief executive Roger Burley.
Asda chief executive Roger Burley.

Roger Burnley, chief executive of Asda, said the horizon for a possible initial public offering (IPO) and stock market listing of Asda by its US parent Walmart is two to three years.

“If I was a betting man, I just think that is the sort of time the process will probably take,” Mr Burnley added.

Walmart said in May that it would look at a stock market listing for Asda after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked a £7.3bn takeover by rival Sainsbury’s over concerns that the tie-up would raise prices for consumers. The decision prompted analysts to speculate that Walmart would try to sell Asda to private equity or consider a stock market listing for the business, which it paid £6.7bn to acquire in 1999.

Asked if Walmart was likely to retain a majority stake in Asda if it did carry out an IPO, Mr Burnley said: “I very much think so.”

He added that Walmart’s support has been “very strong” since the failure of the Sainsbury’s deal.

Earlier this year, Asda gathered over 1,200 of its store, depot and Home Office managers together in Leeds to update on progress on its ongoing strategy and the future.

Judith McKenna, CEO of Walmart International, told Asda managers at the event in Leeds that the parent company was “seriously considering” a path to an IPO. However, she cautioned that any preparations for an IPO would “take years”.