Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe avoids ruling out Nisa takeover as Co-op bid looms

Alys Key
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The convenience chain has received interest from both Sainsbury's and Co-op

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe remained tight-lipped on a possible buyout of Nisa this morning, as the convenience chain awaits a formal offer from The Co-op.

Coupe refused to rule out an acquisition while being interviewed on the BBC's Today programme. When asked if the bid which Sainsbury's agreed for Nisa back in June was now off the table, he said his response was "not a yes or a no."

"The retail industry generally is going through a period of quite profound change," he said.

"You've seen that with our acquisition of Argos last year and with the Tesco Booker deal, which is with the CMA at the moment. As you can imagine, lots of companies talk to lots of other companies, and in my experience roughly 99 per cent of these things don't happen."

Last month a period of exclusivity granted to Sainsbury's by Nisa came to an end, with the supermarket saying it wanted to see the outcome of the competition watchdog's probe into Tesco's Booker takeover.

Nisa then entered a new period of exclusivity with rival bidder The Co-op, which is expected to make a formal offer before the end of this month.

Read more: Updated: Sainsbury's shares rise as Co-op advances talks with Nisa

​Commenting on the wave of M&A which has swept the grocery sector as Amazon enters the market, Coupe said "you can never underestimate something like Amazon as a competitor".

But he added: "Selling fresh food is a particular skill and we think we're good at it."

Read more: Sainsbury's boss warns of food rotting at borders after Brexit

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