Founded more than 40 years ago by brothers Taha and Najib Mikati – who has twice served as Lebanese PM since 2005 – the M1 Group today is a diversified investment company with interest ranging from South African telecoms to London real estate.
The investment arm’s interest in Sainsbury’s is largely seen as a play on the company’s property assets, which are estimated to be worth almost twice its market capitalisation.
In the supermarket’s last annual report, its property portfolio was valued at £10.9bn. Its share price closed up 1.35 per cent yesterday at 292.9p, valuing the company at around £5.6bn.
Sainsbury’s largest shareholder is still the Qatari Investment Authority with 26 per cent of the retailer. Despite a failed takeover bid in 2007, speculation remains that the Qataris could renew their interest in the supermarket in the future.