Musgrave Group, Ireland's largest food distributor, has unveiled an offer valued at €57m (US$69.7m) for franchise grocery retailer Londis.

The proposed transaction involves a total of 2232 stores located in the UK. Combined retail turnover is in excess of €1.4bn, Musgrave said.
 
Musgrave has agreed with the board of Londis to buy the entire issued capital of the company. If the offer is accepted by Londis shareholders at a December meeting, Musgrave will take control of Londis at the end of January 2004.

If the proposed deal goes through, the Londis name will be retained alongside that of Budgens, which Musgrave acquired in July 2002.

"The Londis business bears a striking resemblance to Musgrave in terms of retail formats, franchise models and management culture," said Musgrave chairman Hugh Mackeown.