The Qatari-backed fund, which made a preliminary approach last week, wants to up its 25 per cent stake in the firm, and has met with the Sainsbury family in an attempt to convince them to accept its bid.
Three Delta, the investment arm of the Qatari group, last year appointed Abchurch Communications as its ‘principal corporate relations advisor’.
Abchurch is currently fielding media enquiries for background information and a view of company strategy, but work on the takeover itself is led by FD; its consumer director Jonathan Brill heads the account.
Sources close to the deal claimed that if it is to be successful, FD will have to counter possible opposition from a variety of stakeholders. The future of the company’s pension funds remains a sticking point, and could provoke the ire of trade union groups. But FD will also have to consult a range of shareholders and consumers who have a vested interest in the future of the UK’s third-largest supermarket chain (behind Tesco and Asda).
Reports this week suggest that Delta Two has already lined up former Asda director Tony Campbell to chair the supermarket, should its bid be accepted. The move would reunite Campbell with Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, with whom he worked at Asda in the 1990s. King was one of the ten CEOs shortlisted for the PRCA Romeike Business Communicator of the Year Award last year.
In April, Sainsbury’s rejected a £9.7bn offer tabled by a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners.