The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK competition watchdog, has dismissed claims that it has held talks with Sainsbury’s suitor Delta Two.

This afternoon (6 August), the OFT issued a statement refuting weekend speculation that it had contacted Delta Two, the Qatari-backed investment fund, over its plans to bid for Sainsbury’s.

“Contrary to current media speculation regarding a potential bid from investment fund Delta Two for control of J Sainsbury, the Office of Fair Trading has not contacted Delta Two regarding the supermarket chain,” the OFT said.

Reports in the UK press over the weekend claimed the OFT had been in touch with Delta Two amid concerns over the fund’s proposal to buy Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third-largest retailer.

Delta Two has indicated that it would borrow GBP6bn to finance its proposed GBP10.6bn (US$21.5bn) bid for Sainsbury’s.

The OFT added: “Under its merger procedures, the OFT will not open a case until a formal or informal merger submission is made. No submission has been made in this case and nor has the OFT requested one to date.”

Delta Two and Sainsbury’s are due to meet later this week for a fresh set of talks on the fund’s proposals, which were first outlined on 19 July.

Officials representing Delta Two declined to comment when contacted by just-food today.