Somerfield suitors put up £100m

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Property tycoons Ian and Richard Livingstone are understood to be putting more than £100m of their own cash into a bid to buy Somerfield.

Property tycoons Ian and Richard Livingstone are understood to be putting more than £100m of their own cash into a bid to buy Somerfield.

The two, who own London & Regional Properties, have teamed up with Japanese bank Nomura to launch a bid for the supermarket. They will fund all the equity while Nomura will provide the debt through its asset finance team. Somerfield's shares closed on Friday at 213p, and its net debt at the end of the last financial year was £27.3m.

The Livingstones are one set of three suitors currently in discussions with Somerfield. The others are Icelandic retailer Baugur, which is understood to be teaming up with Scottish entrepreneur Tom Hunter; and property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, who has the backing of venture capital firm Apax Partners and Barclays Capital.

Mr Tchenguiz's indicative approach is thought to be around 205p a share, which would value Somerfield at £1.1bn. The Livingstones' approach is thought to be lower but industry sources say the deal is simpler. The Livingstones' contribution is also "in place and ready to go", said one source.

It is also known that the brothers are able to up their offer, if need be, as Nomura is prepared to take equity as well.

However, no offer has formally been made. Somerfield only agreed to talk to the parties at the end of last week and all three will want access to the books before tabling a firm bid.



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