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The battle for Safeway
The battle is on to take over Safeway, the UK's fourth biggest supermarket group. BBC News Online examines the potential bids and the hurdles that will have to be overcome for one to succeed.
Player:   Company info: Bid: Market share: Competition issues:
Morrisons   Fifth largest UK supermarket chain, turnover £3.9bn. £2.9bn at the time of the all-share offer but now worth about 2.5bn. The only firm bid so far but no longer Safeway's preferred choice. 5% now, 15% if combined. The two combined would be the UK's third largest supermarket group and the biggest chain in north-east England and Yorkshire, with market shares of 29% and 31% respectively.
J Sainsbury   UK number two supermarket chain, turnover £18.2bn. Expected bid: 3.2bn in cash and shares. 17.2% now, 27.2% if combined. Combination would be over limit of 25%. Sainsbury is willing to shed 90 stores.
Asda/Wal-Mart   The third-ranked UK player, turnover at US parent Wal-Mart £150bn. Wal-Mart has the biggest financial muscle of all the potential bidders and could comfortably fund a £4bn all-cash bid. 16.6% now, 26.6% if combined. Wal-Mart said it might have to sell some of its UK stores to get the deal cleared by regulators.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)   US buyout firm. Expected bid: 3bn mainly in cash. KKR will probably break up Safeway and sell off chunks to other players. It will wait until the Competition Commission has blocked one or more of the rival offers before moving in.
Philip Green   Tycoon owner of BHS, Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins. Expected bid: £2.9bn in cash. Adding Safeway to his existing assets would give Mr Green more than 3,000 stores on the High Street. Probably none, as it would be Mr Green's first move into food retailing.
Tesco   The UK's biggest supermarket chain, turnover £26bn. Expected bid: cash and shares. 27% now, 37% if combined. A combined Tesco/Safeway would control about a third of the market, taking into account Tesco's projection that about a quarter of Safeway stores would have to be sold.
Safeway owns 479 stores and has a 10% market share and annual turnover of £9.4bn.

Other parties said to be interested: Marks & Spencer and US private equity firm Texas Pacific.

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