The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has raised its stake in Sainsbury’s for the third time in a month.

It was revealed yesterday that the QIA, which last year pulled away from buying the UK’s third biggest supermarket group for£10.5 billion, bought 22.3 million shares, lifting its holding to 27.3 per cent.

Last November, the QIA’s 600p-a-share bid for Sainsbury’s collapsed after the worldwide credit crunch and demands by Sainsbury’s pension fund trustees made the acquisition too expensive.

The QIA and Delta Two – the government backed investment fund that proposed the bid – have been free to make another offer since May’s expiry of a lock out period.