Walmart has stepped up the battle against online giant Amazon with moves to buy US online discount retailer

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Asda owner could pay up to $3bn for the company, making it Walmart’s biggest acquisition since it snapped up South African retailer Massmart Holdings for $2.3bn in 2010.

Analysts said if the deal did go through it would be a much-needed move by Walmart to play catch-up with newer players like Amazon.

“Acquiring would allow Walmart to become more competitive with e-tail giants such as Amazon and eBay, as Jet’s innovative e-commerce practice would greatly assist Walmart to improve its online services,” said Michelle Malison, retailing analyst at Euromonitor International.

“In select high-density regions such as New York City, Jet often is able to offer same-day delivery at no additional cost to both Jet and its shoppers. Walmart will gain significantly from Jet’s logistics and delivery expertise.”