Sainsbury’s could be the next major UK supermarket be bought out in a private takeover deal after a leading investor bought £300 million in shares.
Speculation surrounding a possible takeover bid for Sainsbury’s has been ignited after Daniel Kretinsky, billionaire owner of Vesa Equity Investments, increased his company’s stake in the grocer to 9.99 per cent.
Kretinksy, a major retail investor who owns 40 per cent in German wholesaler Metro, purchased £300 million worth of shares in Sainsbury’s from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
The raid on Sainsbury’s stock, which has made Kretinsky Sainsbury’s second largest shareholder, has sparked debate among analysts and investors that its three major stakeholders could launch a “take-private” deal.
Takeover speculation first surfaced in January, as Sainsbury’s rival Asda was nearing the end of a £6.8 billion private takeover deal by the Issa brothers.
It’s stocks hit a 12-month high in January as many saw Asda’s private acquisition as a potential new trend in retail, citing Sainsbury’s as low hanging fruit for possible investments.
A spokesman for Kretinsky’s told The Telegraph: “This reaffirms Vesa’s long-term interest in acquiring strategic minority participations in publicly listed companies across the wider food retail distribution segment, where we continue to perceive Sainsbury’s as an attractive investment opportunity.
“We are very pleased to be able to be associated with the strong and reputable brand of Sainsbury’s.”
Any takeover deal would have to be approved by Sainsbury’s founding family, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which now owns around 15 per cent.
However, the success of the Issa brothers’ Asda takeover may have opened the door for similar moves and paths around approval by the UK’s competition and markets authority (CMA).