Qatar 'ready' to back Sainsbury's $1.4bn bid for Argos

Qatar Investment Authority, a 25 percent shareholder in J Sainsbury, has reportedly indicated that it could back the UK supermarket giant if it makes a renewed offer for the owner of retailer Argos.

The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday that J Sainsbury is close to securing the support of its largest investor for a new bid for Home Retail Group, reportedly worth £1 billion ($1.43 billion).

The Times said Qatar's backing is vital if Sainsbury’s is to win the takeover battle before a deadline of February 2.

It is understood Sainsbury’s is keen to try to agree the outline of a deal with Home Retail ahead of the deadline, the Times said.

Sainsbury’s revealed earlier this month it had made a takeover approach to Home Retail, saying a combination of the two retailers would create a company with the “scale of a John Lewis and Amazon”.

The Times added that Home Retail’s investors have already expressed unease that the board did not consult them when Sainsbury’s first made an offer in November.

Credit Suisse said on Monday it expected a deal for Home Retail imminently.

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