UK supermarket group Wm Morrison reportedly hopes to make a new takeover bid for larger rival Safeway before Christmas.

The Office of Fair Trading yesterday [Wednesday] finally ended negotiations with UK supermarket groups over potential stores disposals, receiving competition undertakings that were agreed by UK supermarket retailers, reports the Financial Times. Once the undertakings are published, Wm Morrison will have 21 days to make a bid for Safeway.

The OFT has been negotiating with Morrison, Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda and J Sainsbury over the 53 stores that Morrison will have to dispose of if it is successful in a bid for Safeway.

Sir Ken Morrison, chairman of Yorkshire-based Wm Morrison, is said to be pleased that the undertakings have finally been agreed, the newspaper reported, citing people close to the situation. It is believed Morrison will not take three weeks to make a bid, but that he hopes to be able to table an offer before Christmas.