Sainsbury’s family demands adequate pensions settlement

Qatari investment company Three Delta may be thwarted in its attempts to buy UK supermarket Sainsbury’s by the founding Sainsbury family. The family has reiterated in a statement that its acceptance of any bid is conditional on the Qatari firm providing an adequate pensions settlement.

The Sainsbury family has issued a statement reminding the board of the UK supermarket Sainsbury’s and the Qatari investment company Three Delta attempting to buy the supermarket that it will block any bid without an adequate pensions settlement.

The Sainsbury family has an around 18 percent stake in the company and so it has a significant blocking stake. Three Delta’s special purpose acquisition vehicle Delta Two has made an indicative bid of £10.6 billion (€15.3 billion, $21.5 billion) conditional on its receiving 75 percent shareholder acceptance.

The family members said in a joint statement: “We have consistently made clear the principles by which we would address any offer. Importantly, these include ensuring the pension scheme is properly looked after.”

A person close to the bid said talks were continuing with the pension trustees but media speculation that the firm would table an accepted bid by this Friday were “ambitious”.

According to UK newspaper Financial Times Three Delta and the pension board are at odds over the cash settlement provided for the pension fund. Three Delta has apparently offered a circa £1 billion pension settlement, while the trustees are holding out for approximately £1.75 billion.