The period of exclusivity for Sainsbury’s to make a bid for Nisa has ended without a formal offer being put to the board.

C-Store understands that Sainsbury’s had completed financial due diligence for the proposed takeover but wanted to wait until the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ruled on the Tesco-Booker merger before finalising the terms of the deal. With CMA not expected to complete its work until December, it was thought in the best interests of Nisa members that the period of exclusivity was ended.

An offer from Sainsbury’s may still be forthcoming later in the year, but the decision re-opens the way for other bidders to make merger or takeover overtures towards Nisa. Top of the list is the Co-operative Group, which is understood to be still interested in combining forces with Nisa.

Nisa Retail has not made any formal comment on the changes, but is updating members on the new situation.