Reports this week are claiming only one out of the original four private equity firms interested in buying Sainsbury’s as a consortium is still interested.
Sainsbury’s share price took a hit on the rumours that the withdrawal of Texas Pacific and Blackstone from the consortium after it had reportedly made an increased bid of 582 pence per share left only CVC in the running.
The Sainsbury’s family, who own an 18% stake in the third largest UK supermarket, had been holding out for offers on 600 pence per share, even though the increased consortium bid valued the company at £10.1 billion.
A fourth company, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, withdrew from the private equity group earlier this month.
The remainder of the consortium has to make its move by 13 April under a ruling by the Takeovers and Mergers Panel.
Neither the consortium firms, nor Sainsbury’s would comment.
Last week the supermarket’s fourth quarter trading statement beat forecasts of between 4 and 5.5%, which is expected to increase its full-year profit by £15 million to £382m. Chief executive Justin King said the second phase of Sainsbury’s recovery plan – involving re-branding, stores refresh, restructuring its IT suppliers and overhauling it supply chain systems and e-commerce platforms – had exceeded expectations.