Seventh Safeway bidder in wings
Morgan Stanley advising unidentified client
January 25 2003
Yet another bidder for supermarket group Safeway appears to be about to declare their hand, after evidence that investment banker Morgan Stanley is advising a client on a bid.
The bank restricted its food analysts from discussing the furore surrounding the six known bidders for Safeway, creating speculation that Morgan Stanley is working for a client hoping to join the line-up of interested parties.
Marks & Spencer is a long standing client of Morgan Stanley, but the fact that the banks clothing analysts have not been restricted suggests that M&S is not considering a bid. The high street retailer is thought to be more interested in picking up a smaller number of urban Safeway stores which could be converted to its Simply Food format.
French supermarket giant Carrefour, seen as likely candidate for an offer, said again that it has no intention of bidding for Safeway. Venture capitalist Texas Pacific Group also said it was not working with Morgan Stanley.
The only formal bid for Safeway on the table remains that of Morrison, which has seen Safeway withdraw its recommendation of the offer. Other declared potential bidders are Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Wal-Mart, Philip Green, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
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