Marks and Spencer Takeover Speculation Rife

March 18
9:18 AM 2013

The famed British retailer Marks and Spencer became rife with bid speculation again after a year of weak trading and flat share prices. The bid rumors came from the Qatar Investment Authority who is in the process of assembling a fund worth GBP8 billion.

The Sunday Times broke the story that the Qatari sovereign wealth fund was planning to acquire the clothing, food and homewares retail giant. It already owns 26% of J Sainsbury, the third largest grocer in Great Britain and the report said that the QIA had approached several equity houses such as CVC Capital Partners to determine interest in participation. They also reportedly sought out banks and lending institutions about financing options.

Qatar Holdings, QIA's investment subsidiary as well CVC declined to comment. As for M&S, a spokesperson said the firm does not comment on "rumor and speculation." Despite these responses, persistent rumors of a takeover has surrounded the company since last August.

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