The royal family of Qatar has increased to 25 percent its stake in the UK’s third biggest supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. The kingdom’s investment vehicle Delta Two paid a touch over one billion euros for seven percent of the group’s stock. That is added to the 17.6 percent share it bought in April, just after Sainsbury’s beat off a 15 billion euro takeover bid.
It means Sainsbury’s remains very much a family affair. The Qatari’s own a quarter, with the supermarket’s founding family 18 percent. Property magnate Robert Tchenguiz and his brother control another five percent.
There’s been speculation that those in Qatar share the wish of Tchenguiz and are keen for the group to split off its property assets, valued at over 12 billion euros. The Sainsburys oppose such a move and some analysts say it’s unlikely and could be risky. The Qatari purchase is already bearing fruit for the retailer. By lunchtime on Friday, Sainsbury’s shares were up by almost 5 percent.