Former Safeway man bids for part of old domain

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Carlos Criado-Perez, the former Safeway boss, could return to his old stamping ground just months after selling the supermarket chain to Wm Morrison if his bid to acquire 120 small Safeway stores succeeds.

The flamboyant Argentine, who transformed Safeway during his four-year tenure has teamed up with two former executive colleagues to table an offer for the stores that Morrison put up for sale last month.

Mr Criado-Perez, who has spent much of the summer on his Hebridean island of Oronsay, is understood to have lined up venture capital backing. CVC Capital, KKR, Texas Pacific, Apax Partners and Permira have all shown interest in the sector. He is working with Jack Sinclair, the former Safeway trading director.

Morrison is thought to be seeking £400m to £600m for the stores, which it rebranded Safeway Compact. Somefield, the Co-op, Big Food Group and Ireland's Musgrave are all expected to table bids. The sites, all under 15,000 sq ft, had annual sales of more than £1bn.