Rumours of £130m deal leave members anxious
SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s is reported to have entered into exclusive talks with Nisa about a potential takeover.
According to various news outlets, Nisa – which buys and distributes on behalf of more than 2,500 independently-owned stores around the UK – has been working with bankers at Lazard after receiving interest from potential buyers.
Nisa is now said to be in exclusive talks with Sainsbury’s, eyeing a deal said to be in the region of £130m.
Any agreement would have to be ratified by the 1,400 Nisa members, who may also have to decide whether the group should be de-mutualised.
The reports have coincided with the news that Nisa has completed a £120m refinancing deal.
Neither party has issued an official statement about the potential deal, leaving speculation rife among retailers.
Barry Hanif, owner of Nisa Hanif Supermarket in Coatbridge, said: “I genuinely don’t know what the outcome will be. If Sainsbury’s take over, then fantastic. It’d be brilliant to have the opportunity for a Sainsbury’s fascia, but we’ll have to wait and see. I would rather the company wasn’t sold. I’m quite happy with how it’s being run right now.
“Tesco and Booker have changed the landscape drastically and if you don’t have a decent brand behind you, you’re in trouble. But I see Nisa as a good brand and hopefully we’re not in too much trouble. I’d be quite happy if Nisa stays as it is. It is making profit, perhaps not as much as it should, but I think we need to focus on costs and making the pricing a bit better.”
Abdul Majid, of Nisa Local Bellshill, said he was frustrated that members had been left guessing about discussions.
He said: “I want to know what they’re offering. The thing that attracted me to Nisa was the fact it’s owned by the retailers. It would take a seriously good offer for me to give that up.
“It’s not surprising after what’s happened with Booker. Nisa’s been going through a bad spell in the last couple of years, which makes it ripe for an offer. But we’ve had offers in the past and the members have always rejected them because they like the fact it’s a mutual.
“It would take a really good package for me to vote for it. It would have to work for the majority.
“But I’m interested to see where it goes. The sad thing is a lot of the information we get is coming through whispers and rumours. I’d prefer Nisa sent us proper updates, because some of the gossip we hear is frightening.”
No official statement had been made as Scottish Grocer went to press.
Nisa said that in the period since Scottish Grocer spoke with Majid, the board had embarked on a tour of the regions to meet with members and was working to keep them updated.
A spokesperson said: “The board is keeping members up to date. There have been regular posts to the member forum, and a series of regional meetings with members is currently underway. As and when there is more information we will share this with our members too.”