Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hope of Bid from Green Gives Sainsbury a Boost

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hope of Bid from Green Gives Sainsbury a Boost

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

SUPERMARKETS giant J Sainsbury was one of the best blue-chip performers today, rising 8p to 264p on hopes that retail billionaire Philip Green is poised to bid.

Talk in the City claims Green has already discussed the possibility of a bid for the food retailer with the controlling Sainsbury family that owns almost 40% of the shares.

That sparked talk that Sainsbury was about to give its chief executive Sir Peter Davis the order of the boot prior to any bid.

It is said the Sainsbury family blames him for continuing loss of market share and fears the consequences if the group fails to win control of rival Safeway.

Sainsbury and Green are included among five potential bidders for Safeway, 1/2p firmer at 2701/4p. Green has been given the go-ahead to make an offer, while proposed offers from Sainsbury, Wal-Mart, Tesco, down 1/4p at 211p, and Wm Morrison, unmoved on 1921/2p, are being investigated.

Sainsbury has refused to comment and is known to have recently extended Davies's contract.

The rest of the market took its lead from Wall Street's strong performance overnight.

London's lead was extended by opening gains for the Dow this afternoon.

The FTSE 100 index rose 39.3 to 4152.3.

BAE Systems fell 5p to 142p on turnover of 70 million shares as talk of a merger with one of its main rivals faded.

Brokers are at odds over prospects for industrial gases group BOC, down 6p at 7571/2p. Yesterday, US securities house Lehman Brothers set a generous target price of 1040p. Today, Deutsche Bank cut its target price from 965p to 875p. ICI fell 41/2p to 1401/2p after Deutsche Bank downgraded from hold to sell. Broker ABN Amro is telling clients to switch out of Shell, 51/4p better at 4183/4p, and into rival BP, 8p higher at 4401/4p, as part of a short-term trading move. …

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