ocado m&s

Ocado has confirmed it is in talks with M&S over a joint UK venture.

The online retailer issued a statement this morning after fresh reports of the talks emerged in the press.

‘Following media speculation, Ocado Group plc confirms that it is in discussions with Marks & Spencer Group plc regarding a joint venture in UK retail,’ the statement said.

‘There is no certainty that these discussions will result in any agreement or as to the timing of any such agreement.’

The London Evening Standard reported this morning that M&S was set to pay between £800m and £900m for a 50% stake in a new joint venture between the retailers, which could be announced as soon as tomorrow. 

It would see M&S provided with a food delivery service and Ocado in effect split in two, freeing CEO and co-founder Tim Steiner to focus on striking more international deals to license the retailer’s automated customer fulfilment centre technology, according to the newspaper.

Ocado has signed four such deals since November 2017, with Casino in France, Sobeys in Canada, ICA in Sweden and US giant Kroger.

Ocado’s statement said further updates on the M&S deal would be provided ‘as appropriate’.