Report: ASDA Makes Last-Ditch Attempt for Some U.K. Safeway Stores

LONDON - Wal-Mart-owned ASDA allegedly has offered Safeway UK close to 2 billion British pounds ($3.487 billion) for 70 of its stores in light of an anticipated takeover bid by William Morrison, according to a report in The Times of London.

The offer would devalue the bid from Morrison, which was expected to be in the range of 2.89 billion British pounds for all of Safeway, including its portfolio of 480 stores, The Times reports.

Safeway and ASDA declined to comment on the offer. However, Tony De Nunzio, ASDA's chief executive, told The Times: "We have made our interest in buying Safeway stores well known and that interest remains."

ASDA's offer would be subject to an investigation by the Competition Commission that would take the Safeway takeover process well into next year.

Last week Morrison became the only retailer cleared by the commission to bid for Safeway, beating rivals such as ASDA and Tesco. Observers told The Times that ASDA's new offer might simply be an attempt to force Morrison to pay more for control of Safeway than its expected offer price.

Sources told The Times that ASDA had chosen stores in locations where there was minimal overlap between the two chains.
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