Billionaire Kretinsky increases stake in Sainsbury's

Takeover rumours around Sainsbury's are once again abuzz as Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky has unexpectedly increased his stake in the British supermarket chain to 9.99 per cent.


Takeover target

Through his investment fund Vesa Equity Investments, businessman Daniel Kretinsky bought shares in Sainsbury's, the second largest supermarket chain in Great Britain, for 300 million pounds (345 million euros) last weekend. In doing so, the investor increased his stake from 3 percent to 9.99 percent and became the company's second largest shareholder after Qatar Holdings, whose shares he bought.

The deal has sparked rumours about the future of Sainsbury's. After the failed merger attempt with rival ASDA, analysts see the British number two as a possible takeover target for investors who would like to delist the supermarket chain. An agreement between Kretinsky and the Qatari investors would be a real possibility.


"Attractive investment"

But the investor is keeping a low profile: “This reaffirms Vesa’s long-term interest in acquiring strategic minority participations in publicly listed companies across the wider food retail distribution segment, where we continue to perceive Sainsbury’s as an attractive investment opportunity. We are very pleased to be able to be associated with the strong and reputable brand of Sainsbury’s”," Vesa commented to The Telegraph.

Billionaire Daniel Kretinsky has built up significant stakes in food retailers in recent years. With his investment fund EP Global Commerce he owns 40.6 percent of German food service group Metro. Attempts to gain full control of the group have so far met with resistance from some historical shareholders. Kretinsky recently acquired an interest in Spanish chain Eroski with his Slovakian partner Patrik Tkac and also has an interest of 5.64 percent in the French retail group Casino with Vesa.