Walmart says it is considering selling its majority stake in Asda following ‘inbound interest’ from a ‘number of interested parties’.

The news comes after UK regulators rebuffed Walmart’s proposals to merge Asda with Sainsbury’s last April, a move which would have amassed £51bn in annual sales.

Despite plans to sell, the US retailer has said it will look to retain a minority stake in Asda.

In a joint statement, the two companies said: “Following inbound interest Walmart and Asda can confirm that we are currently considering whether there is an opportunity for a third party to invest in Asda, alongside Walmart, in order to support and accelerate the delivery of Asda’s strategy and position Asda for long term success.

“Together, we are in discussions with a small number of interested parties who share Walmart and Asda’s commitment and passion to growing the business – and who share our values, both for our customers and colleagues.

“No decisions have been made and we will not be commenting further on these discussions. If or when we decide to pursue this opportunity further our first priority will be to share more detailed information with our colleagues.”