Retail leader privately considered a takeover in 2003
Stuart Rose privately considered staging a takeover of Sainsbury's before becoming chief executive of Marks & Spencer, a new book claims.

Rose, named Retail Leader of the Year at the Retail Week Awards last week, sized-up a variety of retailers in 2003 after selling Arcadia to Sir Philip Green, the new edition of Judi Bevan's book The Rise and Fall of Marks & Spencer reveals.

Bevan writes that Rose, along with Charles Wilson and Steven Sharp, 'ran the numbers on WHSmith, Somerfield and Sainsbury's, whose property assets and languishing share price made it highly attractive to private equity bidders. But the time never seemed quite right'.

Renewed private equity interest in Sainsbury's prompted speculation, heightened by comments made by Rose at last week's Retail Week Conference, that M&S might launch a counter bid for the grocer. M&S subsequently ruled out a move, other than in specific circumstances, including a firm intention to bid from the private equity consortium comprising Blackstone, CVC, KKR and TPC. The consortium has until April 13 to make its intentions clear.