Tesco sells South Korean unit for more than £4 bn07 september 2015, 14:33
Troubled British retail giant Tesco agreed Monday to sell South Korean unit Homeplus to a consortium led by private equity firm MBK Partners for more than £4.0 billion (5.5 bilion euros, $6 billion), AFP reports.
Tesco -- which plunged into a record annual loss in 2014/2015 after an accounting scandal and a fierce supermarket price war -- said in a statement that the proceeds will be used to slash debt and help turn around its struggling UK business.
As a result of the deal, Homeplus will be owned by a South Korean investor -- MBK Partners -- for the first time in 16 years.
The consortium also includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Temasek Holdings.
"After a highly competitive process, we are announcing today the proposed sale of Homeplus, our business in the Republic of Korea," said Chief Executive Dave Lewis.
"This sale realises material value for shareholders and allows us to make significant progress on our strategic priority of protecting and strengthening our balance sheet."
The deal is expected to complete in the final quarter of this year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
Britain's biggest retailer is seeking to overhaul its business after reporting the biggest annual loss in its near 100-year history of £5.74 billion.
The company is also facing a fraud probe after a huge accounting scandal that saw it overstate profits by £263 million due to errors stretching back to before 2013.