Analysts have played down speculation today that the Qatar Investment Authority is poised to make a fresh attempt to acquire UK grocery retailer Sainsbury’s.
Shares in the grocer were up 4.8% at 14:50 GMT today to 374.5p a share, with market sources speculating that QIA, which already holds a 27.5% stake in the retailer is preparing to make a fresh bid for the chain.
“We should have seen it coming,” said RBS analyst Justin Scarborough, “with Qatar in the news over the weekend winning the World Cup bid.”
Scarborough said that nothing in Sainsbury’s outlook had changed significantly to prompt a renewed bid. “It may happen sometime, it may happen tomorrow, or it may never happen,” he said.
However he added that stocks in Sainsbury’s jump around every three-to-four months as the market “goes through bouts of speculation” that the Qataris are preparing to make a bid.
Both Scarborough and Hargreaves Landsdown analyst Keith Bowman suggested the rise is probably more likely down to Tesco reporting a third-quarter trading update today.
“Morrisons has gone up nearly 4p, so they all look to be a little bit stronger, obviously it’s a good day for Sainsbury’s, maybe there could be some read across from Tesco’s update,” said Bowman.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury said it “does not comment on rumour or speculation”.