Co-op lines up lenders for Somerfield bid

The Co-op has lined up financing from a trio of Britain’s largest banks to support its efforts to buy Somerfield, the supermarket chain, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph.

The Telegraph says Lloyds TSB, Barclays, and Royal Bank of Scotland have been drafted in to provide debt financing for a deal — worth up to 1.9 billion pounds — that would create a group with a share of about 8 percent of the UK grocery market.

Somerfield’s owners — property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz and private equity groups Apax and Barclays Capital — and the supermarket’s senior management are in talks with the Co-op, which is carrying out due diligence, according to the report.