Blog: Dean BestSainsbury's should breathe a sigh of relief

Dean Best | 5 November 2007

Investors in UK retailer Sainsbury’s would have been disappointed that suitor Delta Two has abandoned plans to buy the company.

Shares in the UK’s third-largest retailer slumped today (5 November) after the Qatar-backed fund decided not to proceed with plans for a GBP10.6bn (US$22.1bn) bid.

Indeed, at the current share price, Delta Two faces a loss on its investment in Sainsbury’s, in which it holds a 25% stake and is the company’s single largest shareholder.

Nevertheless, perhaps after the months of talks and speculation, Sainsbury’s is in a stronger position as an independent company, than if Delta Two’s backers had stumped up the extra funding needed to convince its sceptical pension trustees.

The UK grocery sector remains – despite calls to the contrary – a competitive place. And competition looks likely to intensify, at least if the UK’s Competition Commission has anything to do with it.

Would Delta Two have had the resources to invest further in the company and to fight the likes of Tesco and Asda head on? I doubt it.


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