LONDON — British supermarket chain Tesco Plc has agreed to sell Homeplus, its multi-channel retail business in South Korea, to a group of investors led by MBK Partners and which includes Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange Monday, Tesco said that the sale represents an enterprise value of the business of 4.24 billion pounds, or $6.43 billion at current exchange, on a cash and debt-free basis, and a cash consideration of 4 billion pounds, or $6.1 billion, before tax and other transaction costs.
The deal, set to complete in the fourth quarter of 2015, will mean Tesco’s total debt is reduced by 4.23 billion pounds, or $6.41 billion, the firm said, from the net cash proceeds and a reduction in its capitalized lease. The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the Republic of Korea and Tesco shareholder approval.
HSBC Bank Plc is acting as lead financial advisor and Barclays Bank Plc is acting, through its investment bank, as financial advisor and sponsor to Tesco in relation to the disposal.
Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, called the sale process “highly competitive.”
“This sale realizes material value for shareholders and allows us to make significant progress on our strategic priority of protecting and strengthening our balance sheet,” he said.
Since Lewis joined the firm in Sept. 2014, the ceo has set out plans for Tesco to regain competitiveness in its U.K. business; protect and strengthen its balance sheet, and rebuild trust and transparency in the business and brand.
That came against the backdrop of last year’s accounting scandal at the retailer, when Tesco overstated its expected first-half profits in an accounting error. That mistake made a 263 million pound, or $423 million, dent into the retailer’s bottom line. Earlier this year, Lewis had closed 43 unprofitable Tesco stores in the U.K.
The firm noted that during its review of the business, it had received several “unsolicited offers” for its Homeplus business in Korea. Following the sale, Tesco retains businesses in the U.K., Ireland, Europe and Southeast Asia.