Sperwer Group has quashed speculation in the Netherlands that it is looking to co-operate with Jumbo, a rival bidder for Dutch grocer Super de Boer.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf today (8 October) claimed that Sperwer and Jumbo were in negotiations over a possible carve-up of Super de Boer stores.

Sperwer and Jumbo have both tabled offers for Super de Boer, which is majority-owned by French retail giant Groupe Casino.

Jumbo is currently in exclusive discussions with Casino but a Sperwer spokesperson told just-food that period of talks runs out next week.

She added that Sperwer has embarked on due dilgence of Super de Boer and, crucially, that Sperwer was not in talks with Jumbo. “That’s absolutely not true,” the spokesperson said.

Sperwer made its EUR4.50 (US$6.65)-a-share bid for Super de Boer on Monday. Jumbo’s own offer came on 18 September.

The two rivals have subsequently won separate backing from two other Dutch retailers.

Schuitema said it would acquire 80 Super de Boer outlets if Jumbo’s bid for the retailer was approved.

Meanwhile, market leader Ahold has said it would buy around 40 Super de Boer stores if Sperwer’s bid for the business was successful.

The Sperwer spokesperson refused to comment on whether it would consider raising its offer if Jumbo opts to lift its bid.

However, she insisted Super de Boer would be a “very good strategic fit” for Sperwer. “It fits very well with the growth strategy,” she said.