Walmart and Russian acquisition targets fail to agree on price
Walmart and potential acquisition targets in Russia have failed to agree on a suitable price, said Walmart International CEO Doug McMillon. "One of the things that has been a hindrance in Russia is just an agreement on price," McMillon said Thursday. "If you wanted to have some scale to start out, you have to have a willing seller and therefore you have to come together on valuation. Until something is done, it's not done."
McMillon confirmed that Walmart has made several attempts at acquisitions in Russia. He noted that entering via acquisition would give the retailer a stronger presence more quickly (as opposed to organic expansion). However, the company is also considering entering the market organically.
“It’s premature to say that we’ve made a decision, one way or the other,” on an acquisition or building stores, said Mitch Slape, Senior Vice President of International Business Development. “The fact that we’ve got a team on the ground is evidence of a commitment to focusing in on getting that right answer.”
Walmart has had an exploratory office with 30 employees in Moscow since 2008. According to Slape, that team is evaluating how to differentiate Walmart from Russian retailers. "We have benefited from having a team in Russia and learning how Russia works," McMillon said. "What you think about is, what is the risk, and how do you mitigate it? You have to have a plan going in. We think, long term, Russia is a big enough market that it's certainly worthy of attention. But we don't have to be there this year."
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