Delta Two up equity offer

Sainsbury's has moved a step closer to opening its books to the Qatari-based investment vehicle Delta Two.

It is understood Delta Two has offered to increase the proportion of equity in its£10.6 billion offer, which has been a stumbling block to the deal.

The Sainsbury's board has been concerned about the amount of debt Delta Two plans to use to leverage the deal. Opposition from the Sainsbury family - which has an 18 per cent stake in the grocer - and market turmoil have led to doubts about the likelihood of the deal progressing.

Sources close to the retailer said talks between the two parties on Tuesday were positive. More meetings with Sainsbury's chairman Sir Philip Hampton and Paul Taylor, who runs the Qatari investment vehicle, are scheduled for this week. It is thought that due diligence could begin by the end of next week.

According to reports, Delta Two, which has a 25 per cent stake in the supermarket, will negotiate a potential cash injection to the pension fund only after agreeing a deal in principle with the board.

Delta Two has agreed to improve its proposal to pay£4.6 billion in equity and£6 billion of debt to injecting between£500 million and£1 billion of additional equity.