Wal-Mart Offers to Pay Cash for UK Safeway

Jan 14, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

No retailer in the world has deeper pockets than Wal-Mart. That explains how the retail chain was able to up the ante for the Safeway British supermarket chain when it offered to pay cash on the barrel to acquire the company.

Britain’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) told Reuters it has not yet received any formal bid submissions for Safeway. J. Sainsbury and William Morrison are also said to be interested in acquiring the Safeway business.

The final decision on which chain wins the bidding goes to the Competition Commission. That decision could take six months or perhaps longer according to reports.

Moderator’s Comment: Are there any lessons that the
chains bidding for Safeway in the UK could learn from the supermarket merger
mania that hit the US in the 1990s? What will the consolidation picture in US
retailing look like over the next few years?
Anderson – Moderator

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