BY Fraser Tennant
A conversion, not an expansion. That is how global private equity (PE) investor Advent International is describing its majority stake investment in Walmart Inc’s operations in Brazil.
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Advent will invest in Walmart Brazil to strengthen the business and position it for long-term success – converting store formats instead of opening new ones – with the remaining 20 percent being retained by Walmart Inc. upon completion of the transaction.
A presence in Brazil for the last 22 years, Walmart Brazil currently has 438 stores in 18 states, with 55,000 associates. In 2017, the company’s total sales were more than $25bn.
“We have 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.”
A global PE fund with a strong local presence and extensive experience in retail investment both in Brazil and internationally, Advent has been present in Brazil for more than 20 years. Over that time, the firm has invested in 30 Brazilian companies, always with a strategy focused on revenue growth and operational excellence. Previous investments have included several retail companies such as Dufry, Quero-Quero, Allied and Internat.
Walmart’s decision to partner with Advent in Brazil is the result of the retail corporation’s review of its international portfolio. Following completion of the transaction, Walmart expects to record a non-cash, net loss of approximately $4.5bn.
“Walmart is committed to building strong, resilient businesses that continuously adapt to local customers’ needs in a rapidly changing world,” said Enrique Ostale, executive vice president and chief executive of Walmart UK, 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 opportunity for associates and low prices for customers.”
The Advent/Walmart transaction is subject to regulatory approval in Brazil.