Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont keen on Tesco Lotus deal
One of the richest men in Thailand has approached Tesco about a multi-billion pound deal to buy its business in the country.
Dhanin Chearavanont is understood to have approached Tesco in December about a deal and, although he was rejected, the tycoon is considering another bid.
Mr Chearavanont already controls the retail group Siam Makro in Thailand and acquiring Tesco Lotus would increase his control of the market.
However, Dave Lewis, chief executive, is considering selling off the company’s international assets as Britain’s biggest retailer tries to bounce back from an accounting scandal and a slump in domestic sales.
Mr Chearavanont is understood to have appointed UBS and Siam Commercial Bank to help finance and advise on a bid for Tesco Lotus alongside Bank of America, which was already assisting the tycoon, according to Reuters. However, Mr Chearavanont and Tesco are not currently in discussions about a deal for Tesco Lotus, which is valued at roughly $10bn (£6.6bn), and the company has given no public indication that is ready to sell the business.
In contrast, Tesco is actively working on a deal to sell part or all of Dunnhumby, the analytics business behind the Clubcard loyalty scheme.
Goldman Sachs has been appointed by Tesco to explore strategic options for Dunnhumby, which has been valued at as much as £2bn.
It is understood that Tesco is focusing on the sale of a majority stake in Dunnhumby, rather than a full disposal or IPO. This would allow the retailer to main some influence over the business.
Tesco has owned Dunnhumby for a decade and its tools are central to the Clubcard scheme because it allows the company to analyse customer shopping patterns and issue personalised vouchers. If Tesco maintained a stake in Dunnhumby then it could direct its future investments and block rival retailers from using its tools.
Mr Lewis has insisted that Clubcard remains a “very important part” of Tesco’s offer to shoppers.