Qataris increase Sainsbury stake

Delta (Two), the property fund backed by the Qatari Prime Minister, has confirmed it has bought a further 7.1% stake in Sainsbury.

The fund now has a total interest of 25% in Sainsbury when the shares held directly by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani are taken into account.

Significantly, that means it now has more shares by some distance than the supermarket’s founding family.

The group bought 123m Sainsbury shares at 595p each, above the rumoured 580p a share that the buyout consortium led by CVC was prepared to offer shareholders earlier this year.

On June 14, Credit Suisse converted options in the supermarket to an equity holding of 17.7%. It is believed this represented the existing holding of Delta (Two).

The Qatari group said in April that it supported Sainsbury’s current strategy. This would suggest that the company was now secure from any further buyout attempt.

Nevertheless, there could be renewed speculation that the party might try to force Sainsbury to realise the value in its property holdings through a sale and leaseback deal.

Delta (Two) is managed by Paul Taylor, who used to work with Robert Tchenguiz, who himself owns 5% of Sainsbury. Tchenguiz has said that he wants the board to restructure its balance sheet.