Five bidders circle Iceland

AT LEAST five private equity firms were poised to submit first-round non-binding offers for a 77 per cent stake in frozen food retailer Iceland Foods by yesterday’s deadline, four people familiar with the matter said.

Iceland Foods’ chief executive and key investor Malcolm Walker is thinking about bidding for the company later in the process, with backing from pensions funds and sovereign wealth, three of the people said.

Analysts expect a winning offer to value Iceland at £1.3bn to £1.5bn.

BC Partners, Cinven, Blackstone, TPG and Bain will square up against supermarket groups Asda, owned by retail giant Wal-Mart, and Wm Morrison, the sources said.

The retailers would have to sell off some of the stores to satisfy competition authorities.