Advent International has agreed to take a majority stake in Walmart Brazil, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail and digital giant said Monday, adding that Advent will acquire 80 percent of Walmart Brazil, with Walmart Inc. retaining the remaining 20 percent when the deal is completed. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in Brazil.
“The decision to partner with Advent in Brazil results from a thoughtful and deliberate review of Walmart’s international portfolio,” the retailer said, adding, “the deal with Advent will strengthen the business and position it for long-term success.”
The retail and digital behemoth has made no secret of its desire to shed the Brazil unit, which had sales of $6.68 billion in 2017 and consists of 438 stores in 18 states.
“We’re continually reviewing our portfolio and consistent with that, we’re currently considering options for our business in Brazil,” Brett Biggs, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during Walmart’s first-quarter earnings conference call with analysts last month.
The move came as no surprise considering Walmart’s recent $16 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart. While the retail and digital giant has ample operating cash flow, Walmart has been taking steps to streamline its business and shed lagging units. The company has also entered into an agreement to merge its Asda subsidiary in the U.K. with Sainsbury’s Plc.
Walmart, which has been doing business in Brazil since 1996, has tried before to sell a major stake in the business, which includes stores that were opened during Brazil’s economic boom and are located in less desirable locations. Walmart Brazil employs 55,000 associates.
“We’ve been in Brazil for over 20 years and are excited about this partnership with one of the country’s leading retailers,” said Patrice Etlin, a managing partner at Advent International in Brazil. “We believe that with our local market knowledge and retail expertise, we can position the company to generate significant results and reach new levels of success in Brazil. We plan to invest in the business, work with the Walmart Brazil management team, associates, Walmart and our industry advisors to create a more agile and modern company to accelerate its development and improve the customer experience.”
In addition to having local experience, the global private equity fund has retail investment experience in Brazil and internationally. Since the opening of its São Paulo office in 1997, the fund has invested in 30 Brazilian companies in various sectors. Advent has been active in the retail, consumer and leisure segments worldwide for 28 years and has completed 75 investments in 22 countries.
“Walmart is committed to building strong, resilient businesses that continuously adapt to local customers’ needs in a rapidly changing world,” said Enrique Ostalé, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.K., Latin America and Africa. “We will retain a stake in Walmart Brazil and continue to share our global retail expertise, giving our Brazil business the best opportunity for long-term growth, providing opportunities for associates and low prices for customers.”
As a result of the transaction, Walmart expects to record a non-cash, net loss of about $4.5 billion as a discrete item in the second quarter. A significant portion of the net loss is due to the recognition of cumulative foreign currency translation losses and the final loss could fluctuate significantly due to changes in currency exchange rates up to the closing date. Following an anticipated close later this year, Walmart expects no ongoing material impact to earnings per share in the current fiscal year and a slight positive impact next fiscal year.
Walmart was advised by Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, and Advent International was advised by Credit Suisse and Euro Latina Finance.