Supermarket Giant Under Pressure

PRESSURE IS mounting on Sainsbury”s, as rumours of a potential buy-out led by former Asda boss Allan Leighton multiply. Recent reports suggest that private equity firms could put a pricetag of about 7bn on the ailing supermarket giant.

But there are no bids poised yet, according to an expert close to the process. He suggested that Sainsbury”s had about six months to turn the tide and prove that chief executive Justin King can get the business back on track before a bid would be launched. The size of the deal means that more than half a dozen firms would have to be involved.

Mr King put a recovery plan forward in October to stop the rot and win back market share from rivals Tesco and Asda. He said he will recruit more staff to keep shelves full and aims to win 2.5bn in extra sales by 2007/08.