Walmart, the American retail giant, bought control of Massmart 10 years ago. Walmart bought a 51% stake in Massmart for more than USD 2.5 billion. Since then, the company has lost more than 80% in value.
Walmart seems to have lost patience with the company and failing the turnaround plan (which was buffeted by ZAR 4 billion in Covid-19 related aid from Walmart to Massmart), has decided to buy the remaining part of Massmart and delist the company. This move was approved by shareholders on Friday 21 October – Walmart had offered a 50% premium on the share price at the time to entice shareholders to the deal. With further conditions still needing to be met, the expected delisting date is approximately 8 November 2022.
This is likely not good news for workers at the company. Firstly, the delisting means that we will not have access to the level of information that the company was previously compelled to make public. This means that we will no longer have access to remuneration packages for executives and that financial information will be less freely available. Walmart will be able to make more dramatic changes to the company in its unlisted form – like selling off parts of the business that aren’t performing well.