By Joanne Bladd
Group led by Global Banking Corporation of Bahrain said to be bidding for frozen food retailer Iceland
A consortium of Gulf investors led by the Global Banking Corporation of Bahrain is said to be in talks with the owners of frozen food retailer Iceland over a possible $2.36bn sale of the UK chain.
Saleh Al Ali Al Rashed, chairman of Global, visited London to meet with representatives of Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), to begin early-stage discussions on a takeover of Iceland Foods, according to media reports.
Global Banking Corporation representatives were unavailable for comment.
Iceland is majority-owned by collapsed Icelandic banks Landsbanki and Glitnir, which together hold a 76 percent stake. The banks’ assets are being overseen by the Icelandic government since the banks called in administrators.
Iceland founder and chief executive Malcom Walker holds the remaining 24 percent of the company. He is said to have made a $1.6bn bid to buy back the retailer earlier this year, which was rejected.
However, the reported interest from Gulf investors may trigger a second offer from Walker and other members of management.
Iceland was founded in 1970 by Walker, and went on to become a national supermarket chain.
He was ousted as chairman in 2005, but reinstated to the board when a private consortium led by Iceland’s retail group Baugur acquired the chain’s parent company The Big Food Group in a deal valued at more than $500m.
Baugur’s controlling stake passed to Landsbanki and Glitnir in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis.
Iceland reported a 19 percent jump in profits for the 12 months to March 26, 2010.
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