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Somerfield up for sale

Published:  23 July, 2008

British convenience store chain Somerfield has put itself up for sale and could change hands for as much as 2.5 billion in an auction being run by Citigroup.

The consortium that bought Somerfield for 1.8bn two years ago, which includes Barclays Capital, private equity arm Apax Partners and property magnate Robert Tchenguiz, has decided to sell the business.

National newspaper reports today (Thursday) said there had been at least three expressions of interest for the 955-store chain, from supermarket groups J Sainsbury, Wal-Mart's Asda and Morrison.

Waitrose, the upmarket supermarket group run by employee-owned retailer John Lewis, might also be interested.

The sale could fetch between 2bn and 2.5bn.

A spokesman for Tchenguiz was unavailable for comment.