Billionaire brothers who acquired Herbert Group's KFC empire now leading bid to buy Asda

Asda's store on Kennedy Way, Belfast, one of 17 in the north.
Asda's store on Kennedy Way, Belfast, one of 17 in the north.

THE billionaire brothers who bought the fast food empire of one of the north’s richest couples are now leading the race to acquire a controlling stake in Asda.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa’s Blackburn based EG Group acquired 146 KFC restaurants from Michael and Lesley Herbert in March 2020.

The move saw 4,000 staff across Ireland and the UK transfer to the EG Group.

The Issa brothers are now understood to be the lead bidder, along with London equity firm TDR Capital, to buy the Walmart-owned supermarket chain.

Starting out in 2001 as Euro Garages with just one site, the company has expanded rapidly, merging with TDR in 2016 to form the EG Group.

It now spans 6,000 petrol forecourts and retail stores across ten countries, employing around 50,000 people.

This year’s deal to buy the Herbert Group’s KFC portfolio saw it expand into the Irish market for the first time.

TDR Capital owns half the group, with the Issa brothers each controlling 25 per cent.

It reported revenues of just under £18bn last year.

According a Sky News report, Asda’s business, including its 17 supermarkets in Northern Ireland, has been valued at around £6.5 billion.

Walmart has owned Asda since 1999.

A deal has yet to struck, with US private equity firm Apollo Global Management also in the race to buy the company, with former Debenhams boss Rob Templeman involved.

However, it has been reported that the EG Group-led offer is Walmart’s preferred bidder.

Earlier this month, Asda announced plans to test three convenience stores with the EG Group.

The potential sale comes two years after a proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s, to create the largest UK grocery chain, was blocked by the Competitions and Markets Authority.