The former CEO of Debenhams and the former Asda boss are going head-to-head in a £6.5bn private equity bidding war for the supermarket chain Asda. Formal bids are set to be tabled for the grocery retailer early next month.
First reported by Sky News, it is the ex Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman – working alongside Apollo Global Management – who is running against Paul Mason, who served as Asda’s own CEO 20 years ago in a bid to takeover the UK’s third largest grocery retail chain.
Asda’s US owner Walmart has restarted talks over a sale of a majority stake in the supermarket chain more than a year after the competition regulator blocked its planned ‘mega-merger’ with Sainsbury’s. The new auction is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year, with Walmart retaining a minority stake.
At the time of the failed merger with Sainsbury’s, Asda was valued at £7.3bn.
As well as his stint at the front of the department store Debenhams, Templeman has run operations for Halfords, Homebase, and Harveys. He is also known for his time as Chair of the betting company Gala Coral and is currently Chair of the roadside rescue group, RAC.
Meanwhile, Mason served as chief executive of Asda until 2001, when he left for the rival supermarket chain Somerfield. He has also chaired New Look, Matalan, Cath Kidston, and Dr Martens.