Rumours of an approach priced at about 500p a share spread through the stockmarket, which pushed shares up to 344p each, valuing the business at£6 billion.
One trader told The Times that there was speculation that the Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) was working on a bid with property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz and an unknown investor. The QIA scrapped their£10 billion bid for Sainsbury’s last year because of the credit crunch.
The QIA has a 27 per cent stake in Sainsbury’s, while Tchenguiz owns 10 per cent.
A bid may be unlikely given the lack of ready private equity funding for any deal.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We can’t comment on market rumour and speculation.”
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