Walmart
WMT
has tied up a deal to sell the U.K. supermarket group Asda Group to gas station tycoons the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital for £6.8 billion ($8.8 billion) after a merger with Sainsbury was blocked last year.

The transaction—made on a debt-free and cash-free basis—is set to close in the first half of 2021 subject to the usual regulatory approvals. Under the new ownership structure, the Issas and TDR Capital will have majority ownership of Asda through equal shareholdings, with Walmart retaining an ongoing equity investment.

Walmart says that it will have a continuing commercial relationship, expected to be a supply and sourcing arrangement, and it will also retain a seat on the Asda board.

In a statement on the deal, Judith McKenna, President and CEO of Walmart International, said: “We believe it creates the right ownership structure for Asda, building on its 71 year-heritage, whilst bringing a new entrepreneurial flair, not only to Asda, but also to UK retailing. Walmart will retain a significant financial stake, a board seat, and will continue as a strategic partner.”

She went on to praise the U.K. supermarket’s contribution to the world’s biggest retailer, describing Asda as a “powerhouse of innovation for the rest of the Walmart world.”

The Issa brothers are co-CEOs of EG Group, a global convenience and gas station forecourts retailer, headquartered in Blackburn in the U.K. with pro forma revenue in 2019 of almost $30 billion. The Issas founded Euro Garages in 2001, with a single petrol station in Bury, Greater Manchester and now have a diversified portfolio of over 6,000 sites across 10

LONDON (Reuters) – Dave Lewis steps down on Wednesday after six years as Tesco chief executive, during which he got Britain’s biggest retailer back on track after an accounting crisis, leaving new challenges for his successor Ken Murphy.

Murphy, 53, who was formerly at healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance

, faces the long-term impact of the coronavirus crisis, a recession and possible disruption when Britain’s Brexit transition period finishes at the end of 2020.

Tesco was on its knees shortly after former Unilever executive Lewis, 55, joined in 2014 when an accounting scandal knocked millions off its profits and billions off its share price.

But by October last year, Lewis declared Tesco’s turnaround complete, its position as clear market leader among Britain’s supermarket groups reinforced.

Lewis received a total pay package of 6.4 million pounds ($8.2 million) in 2019-20.

Murphy, an Irishman who is taking on his highest profile business role, starts as Britain’s supermarkets have seen grocery sales boosted by the pandemic, both in stores and online, but have also seen a big increase in costs.

There are also fears that the pandemic-induced recession will spark a margin damaging price war.

After Lewis sold Tesco’s businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, and in Poland, Murphy will have to decide the future of its central European division, with stores in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, its only remaining overseas supermarket operations apart from Ireland.

A week after Murphy starts, analysts expect Tesco to report second quarter UK like-for-like sales growth similar to the first quarter’s 8.7%, but anticipate increased costs will drag down core earnings.

Murphy’s appointment at Tesco follows Simon Roberts taking over as CEO at arch rival Sainsbury’s

in June. It means that Britain’s two biggest supermarket groups will be run by Boots alumni, who know each other