LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Co-operative Group (42TE.L) is in exclusive talks to buy Nisa, entering the fray days after larger rival Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) suspended its own bid talks for the wholesale group.
Britain’s biggest retailers have set their sights on operators within the fast-growing convenience store sector after Tesco (TSCO.L) agreed to buy Booker BOK.L for 3.7 billion pounds ($4.8 billion).
Sainsbury’s, the country’s second largest supermarket, said on Aug. 15 it had suspended bid talks with Nisa until the regulator gave its verdict on the Tesco-Booker deal, leaving the door open to the Co-op.
In a letter to shareholders, Nisa said it had granted the Co-op a period of exclusive access to its books from Wednesday.
“Thereafter, and subject to the results of the due diligence, it is anticipated that the Co-op could be in a position to make a final offer to the members for your consideration,” Nisa Chairman Peter Hartley said.
Nisa’s members operate almost 2,500 retail stores around the country.
($1 = 0.7735 pounds)
Reporting by Fanny Potkin