Property tycoon gets burnt after Sainsbury's takeover deal collapses

Entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz is famous for his playboy lifestyle. Now he will be known for losing £200m after a bid for the supermarket failed
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The Independent Online

Even for a multi-multi-millionaire, a £200m supermarket-shopping trip has to hurt. That's roughly the sum that Robert Tchenguiz, the colourful Iranian-born property entrepreneur, lost last week after watching the possible £10.6bn takeover of the Sainsbury supermarket chain collapse.

Tchenguiz, 47, is known for many things. His erstwhile playboy lifestyle: the parties, the relationship with Caprice, the former Wonderbra model, the gossip column appearances and latterly his partner Heather Bird, the "anti-ageing visionary". And his many deals, which all have one thing in common: property.

But henceforth Tchenguiz could find himself known as the man who bet his shirt on Sainsbury's succumbing to a takeover bid – and lost himself an awful lot of money. You see, Tchenguiz tried loading himself up with shares in the chain. At the time, prospective bidders were circling the family-controlled supermarket group and its share price was soaring. So our man filled his trolley with Sainsbury's shares until he found himself sitting on a 10 per cent stake in Britain's third biggest supermarket group.

After the founding Sainsbury family knocked back one potential bid, along came an investment fund backed by the Qatari Investment Authority and oil-rich Gulf state's cheque book. But when the price of the chain began to soar towards £11bn, the Qataris got cold feet.

Not so our Robbie. It seems he wasn't named after Genghis Khan for nothing (his father, Victor, changed the family name from Kedourie Molaaem to Tchenguiz, a Persian version of the Mongol conqueror's name). He has vowed to hang on to his stake in Sainsbury's. Who knows, a third suitor might come knocking. If not, he can always console himself with the thought of Sainsbury's extensive property.

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