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M&S holds off Sainsbury’s bid

But chain doesn't rule out future offer


High street chain Marks & Spencer has scotched speculation it is planning to make an offer for the Sainsbury supermarket group.

The Marks & Spencer board released a statement after claims it had been thinking about the move.

It said: ‘In response to recent speculation, the Board of Marks and Spencer Group plc confirms that it has been considering its position in relation to a possible combination with Sainsbury. Further to this, the Board has decided that it does not intend to make an offer for Sainsbury at this time.’

But the statement did not rule out that Marks & Spencer would make an offer in the future.

Supermarket speculation

Talk of Sainsbury’s being taken over has rumbled on for years but at the weekend it was said to be days away from receiving an 11 billion dollar offer from a private equity consortium.

The consortium of private equity houses CVC Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone were said by the Sunday Times to be hoping to approach the chain by the end of this week.

Sainsbury is believed to be considering asking the takeover panel to issue a ‘put up or shut up’ order to its potential buyers to lay down a strict timetable for any potential bid.

Marks & Spencer were among a raft of potential suitors linked to possible approaches for the group.

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