Linklaters secures deadline on Sainsbury bid

Linklaters and UBS have successfully persuaded the Takeover Panel to issue a ‘put up or shut up’ notice to the private equity consortium circling ever closer around J Sainsbury.

The CVC Capital Partners-led consortium, which also includes Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) now has until 13 April to make a formal announcement for Britain’s third-largest supermarket, or announce that it does not intend to make an offer.

Should it decide not to make an offer, under the Takeover Code the consortium would be prevented from making another bid for the supermarket chain for another six months.

News of the Takeover Panel’s deadline notice caused Sainsbury’s share price to rise 4.25 pence, or 0.8 per cent, to 529.25 pence today.

Sainsbury’s is a longstanding client of Linklaters, with global head of corporate David Barnes managing the relationship.

As first reported by The Lawyer (5 February), Clifford Chance bagged instruction from the consortium through private equity partner James Baird’s tight relationship with CVC.

When the consortium first confirmed that it was in the preliminary stages of assessing a bid for J Sainsbury a month ago, shares in the supermarket then soared on the main list by 14 per cent to £5.07.

Sainsbury’s property portfolio, which is mainly made up of its 750 stores, is believed to be worth £7.5bn alone, and many analysts are predicting a bid of at least £10bn from the consortium.

Goldman Sachs and Lazard are advising the consortium on any possible bid, with RBS and Barclays Capital reputedly financing it.