Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has contacted CVC Capital Partners Ltd and other private equity firms over a potential joint offer of £8bn ($12.1bn/€9.4bn) for UK clothing retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS), or M&S, the Sunday Times reported, citing unnamed sources.
Based on its closing price on Friday, M&S has a market capitalisation of £6.01bn. A £8bn bid would be a 30% premium to that value, Reuters said.
M&S, which turned down a £9.1bn takeover approach from Topshop-to-Bhs Arcadia’s owner Philip Green in 2004, was rumoured in August 2012 to be of interest for private equity suitors.
According to the Sunday Times, QIA has also talked with banks about financing for a potential offer.
However, the Qatari fund could meet with the same opposition from M&S’ large number of private shareholders, controlling some 25% of its capital, as Green had in 2004, Reuters said.