Massmart, Walmart mull legal options after delay

Walmart and its target, Massmart, are considering legal options to ensure a fair hearing after competition authorities delayed a hearing by nearly two months.

The Competition Tribunal postponed hearings on Tuesday into Walmart’s $2,3-billion bid for a controlling stake in Massmart to between May 9 and 16 from this week after the government and unions asked for more time to submit additional information.

“Massmart and Walmart are considering, together with their legal advisors, their options to facilitate an expeditious and fair regulatory hearing,” the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Competition authorities are the last obstacle to the world’s biggest retailer taking a 51% stake in Massmart after shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of the deal in January.

The deal has pitted Walmart against South Africa’s powerful trade unions, some of which have threatened to strike against the United States giant.

Walmart, which agreed to pay R148 per share for the stake, said Massmart remained a compelling investment.

Shares in Massmart gained 1,25% to R132, recouping some of the losses suffered in the previous session. – Reuters

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