Malcolm Walker is in negotiations with several banks to secure a loan that would give him control of Iceland.
Liquidators for Landsbanki, the bankrupt Icelandic bank, are seeking a sale of Iceland for between £1.7bn and £2bn, reports The Times.
Malcolm Walker, who founded Iceland Foods in 1970, is said to be in talks with banks including Goldman Sachs, to secure a mezzanine debt package to fund a takeover of the frozen food chain. He already owns nearly a quarter of Iceland and has the right to match any offer for the rest of the company.
Iceland is being auctioned off by Merrill Lynch Bank of America on behalf of the liquidators for Landsbanki, which took control of a 67 per cent stake in 2008, when Iceland’s previous owner Baugur collapsed.
Malcolm Walker is competing for Iceland against other retail chains including Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Cooperative, which are all interested in Iceland’s valuable 796 stores.
And, writing in Retail Week last week, Malcolm Walker said he wouldn’t let Iceland go without a fight:
“It would not be so bad if the stories were about retailers hoping to get their hands on an iconic and successful British brand. But they are not. They’re about their desire to buy some or all of our 796 sites to fuel the expansion of their convenience store formats.”
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