With an ongoing investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the last thing Walmart would want to do is enter a market like Russia. Nevertheless, a Bloomberg report this week linked the company to a retailer few Americans have ever hear of.
The CEO of the 85 unit Russian hypermarket chain O’Key apparently told a Bloomberg reporter during an interview in a Moscow hotel that O’Key would be a good fit for Walmart. However, in the same breath he added that the controlling shareholders of the retailer were interested in selling because of the chain’s growth potential. Walmart also promptly declined to comment as is par for the course when it comes to international speculation.
The mixed message from O'Key CEO Patrick Longuey made the whole affair seem like a story about nothing, but it is worth remember that Walmart earlier this year named Lev Khasis, the former CEO of leading Russian retailer X5, to a role overseeing format development in international markets. At least if Walmart decides to enterain making a bid on a Russian chain it has a person on the payroll who can provide first hand insights into the complexities of the market.
To read what else Bloomberg had to say about Russia, click here.