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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Somerfield backs 1.1bn takeover
Somerfield store
Somerfield has been at the centre of a number of approaches
The board of supermarket group Somerfield has accepted a 1.1bn ($1.9bn) takeover offer.

As expected, the firm is backing a bid from property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, private equity firm Apax Partners and investment bank Barclays Capital.

The consortium had been given a 5pm Friday deadline by the UK Takeover Panel to either "put up or shut up".

Its offer will now be put Somerfield's shareholders. The company is the UK's fifth largest supermarket group.

Long-running interest

The consortium's offer should finally bring to an end the long-running takeover saga surrounding Bristol-based Somerfield.

Since April 2003, a number of potential suitors have come forward for the supermarket, which also owns stores under the KwikSave brand.

They included two failed approaches, two years ago, from retail entrepreneurs John Lovering and Bob Mackenzie.

In February 2005, Icelandic venture capital group Baugur made an approach, while United Co-operative and London & Regional Properties also expressed an interest, but all subsequently dropped out of the running.

Retail analyst Rhys Williams of Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, said the offer was "not as good as initially expected", but he still expected it to go through.

The consortium said a further announcement and more details would be released later on Friday.

Somerfield's shares closed up 6 pence, or 3.2%, at 193p on Friday.

In April, Apax pulled out of a takeover offer for general retailer Woolworths.

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14 Jul 05 |  Business

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