Feeding Frenzy at Safeway Buffet

The battle to acquire Britain's Safeway supermarket chain is strictly small potatoes by conventional standards. But to deal-starved investment bankers, it's a feast — although the main course has yet to be served. Six potential bidders have emerged to date, trailing 11 investment banks, but so far only one offer is on the table, an unappetizing €4.4 billion stock offer from supermarketer William Morrison that Safeway no longer supports. Three bigger retailing rivals — Tesco, Sainsbury and Wal-Mart — are likely to encounter serious anti-trust obstacles if they make bids, bankers say, and the two financial bidders, KKR and Philip Green,...

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