Consortium given nearly six weeks to decide on £10bn Sainsbury bid

The private equity consortium circling Sainsbury, a UK supermarket chain valued at about £10 billion, has been given until April 13 to decide whether or not to bid for the company

The UK Takeover Panel has finally issued a “put up or shut up” deadline to the consortium of private equity firms mulling a bid for UK grocer Sainsbury.

Sainsbury: Buyout offer must be made by April 13

The consortium has been given until 5pm on April 13 to “announce a firm intention to make an offer” for Sainsbury, or withdraw its interest. If it fails to do so, it is banned under UK takeover rules from making a bid for at least six months, barring the emergence of a rival bidder.

The four firms involved in the consortium – CVC Capital Partners, The Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group – said last month that they were considering a joint bid for Sainsbury, which is currently valued at about £10 billion (€14.7 billion; $19.3 billion).

Sainsbury’s shares have jumped about 20% since takeover speculation began last month. At 16:07 GMT, shares were up 11 pence for the day to 536 pence, giving the company a market capitalisation of £9.3 billion.

Marks & Spencer, another UK high street chain, said in a statement to the stock market last week that it had considered a bid for Sainsbury, but had no plans to make an offer for the time being. However, it reserved the right to change its mind if another bidder came forward.