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Bidding begins for Somerfield

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Co-operative Group and Asda are front-runners to buy Somerfield after both submitted bids for the whole business, according to yesterday's Sunday Times.

But the offers are understood to be well below the 2.5bn Somerfield's backers are looking for, making it likely that the retailer will be split up.

Industry sources are sceptical as to whether Asda or the Co-op are interested in the whole chain, says the Sunday Times, and say the low bids could be a tactic to force the break-up of Somerfield.

Observers believe a break-up is now the more likely option.

The Daily Telegraph says Asda is already talking to others about selling Somerfield's smaller town centre stores if its indicative bid is successful.