J SAINSBURY shares jumped 10 per cent yesterday on market talk that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund was planning a renewed offer for the supermarket chain after dropping a bid in 2007.
Sainsbury’s, Britain’s third-biggest supermarket group, the 26 per cent shareholder Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) and the Sainsbury family, which own around 17 per cent, all declined to comment.
Traders reported rumours of a possible offer at 420p a share and that former Barclays banker Roger Jenkins was broking a deal. A spokesman for Jenkins’ new corporate advisory finance firm declined to comment. Jenkins left Barclays in August to set up the new company, which has a specific focus on the Middle East.
A Qatari fund abandoned a 600p per share bid proposal, worth £10.6bn, in November 2007 as the credit crisis took hold.
The fund bought most of its stake, which was later transferred to the QIA, at around 575p a share.
Sainsbury’s shares, which have risen sharply on rumours of a bid from the QIA in the past, were up 10 per cent at 342.50p, valuing the business at about £6.3bn. They have gained two per cent since the start of the year, reaching a high of 346.25p on 18 May.