Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz and private equity group Apax are thought to be at loggerheads over the sale of grocery chain Somerfield, which has attracted only one bid, according to The Times.
Up-for-sale Somerfield is thought to have attracted only one firm bid to date from the Co-operative Group.
Sources close to the process said that Tchenguiz is keen to push ahead with the sale because he is sitting on millions of pounds of losses from his investments in Sainsbury’s and Mitchells & Butlers, reported The Times.
However, Apax, which jointly owns Somerfield with Barclays Capital, is prepared to put the sale on hold if it does not achieve a decent price for the group’s 955 stores.
The Co-operative Group submitted a proposal for the entire chain by the deadline of March 15, but the bid is understood to be below the asking price of between£2 billion and£2.5 billion. Asda has expressed an interest in Somerfield, but it is thought to only want about 600 stores.
Sources close to Somerfield denied a rift over the sale process and said that Co-op had not met the asking price. Co-op, Somerfield and Asda have all declined to comment on Somerfield this year.