Campbell to become chairman if Three Delta triumphs, Mellor not involved

Three Delta has confirmed Tony Campbell will become chairman of UK supermarket Sainsbury’s if its offer succeeds, although the Sainsbury family is reportedly set against the deal.

Three Delta, the Qatari investment company, has denied rumours ex-Tory MP David Mellor was advising on the £10.6 billion ($22 billion, €16 billion) offer it has made for Sainsbury’s and confirmed Tony Campbell will become chairman of the supermarket if the offer succeeds.

A spokesman for Delta Two, Three Delta’s special acquisition vehicle targetting Sainsbury’s, said: “We have confirmed Mellor is Three Delta’s business development director. As you would suspect from the position this means he is not advising on the Sainsbury’s bid as the job involves searching out new opportunities while we already have a 25 percent stake in Sainsbury’s.” Mellor does not advise Qatar on any matters, political or otherwise, he added.

Three Delta has also lined up former senior Asda executive Campbell as a chairman for the company. Campbell previously worked with Justin King, the Sainsbury’s chief executive, whom Three Delta is reportedly interested in retaining. 

Three Delta will meet 14.5 percent shareholders Lords John and David Sainsbury, the heirs to UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, next week, according to UK newspaper Financial Times. The spokesperson declined to comment about the meeting. The total stake owned by the entire Sainsbury family comes to around 18 percent, according to a source close to the deal. 

The UK newspaper Times said the Sainsbury family is set against selling the business to private equity because they believe high leverage and the group’s plans to divide the operating business from the property portfolio to be an unsustainable model for the group’s future.

The bid is expected to come in at around £6.00 per share or £10.6 billion, following a statement issued by Three Delta.

Paul Taylor, principle at Three Delta, used to be chief executive of the Rotch Property Group, owned by Iranian property entrepreneurs Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz. Robert Tchenguiz owns 10 percent stake at Sainsbury’s in shares and derivatives. He is expected to join the bid, and he reportedly said on Friday he would not block any offer.
 
Tchenguiz, along with the Sainsbury family, played a key blocking role in fending off a CVC Capital Partners consortium, which attempted to buy Sainsbury’s in April for £5.82 per share.