Sainsbury's in talks to acquire Nisa, say reports

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According to weekend newspaper reports, J Sainsbury has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire Nisa Retail for £130m.

Sainsbury’s will now conduct due diligence before making a formal offer for Nisa, and any offer would have to be accepted by more than 50% of shareholders in order for it to proceed.

Neither Nisa nor Sainsbury’s has commented on the situation.

Nisa recently appointed asset management firm Lazard to advise the organisation, increasing speculation that a business restructuring or full sale might be proposed to the membership in the near future.

Chief executive Nick Read’s three-year business plan for Nisa includes an aspiration to build scale in the business and take annual sales to £2bn. C-Store understands that the group’s board has received several approaches from other organisations in the industry in recent months, ranging from partnership proposals to a full takeover, and that Lazard would be able to provide expert advice in how to evaluate opportunities to restructure the group.

However, any proposed takeover or merger would be agonising for retail members, and at least one member group is currently circulating email messages calling for the removal of the executive team and their replacement with a board of directors committed to mutuality.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Nisa are certainly in a better financial shape than P&H so from that angle it makes sense if JS are determined to enter the 'independent ' sector although how this will play out for the members if an offer is accepted remains to be seen.

    It would be interesting to know what proposal other parties had offered, and if this is really the best deal for the group.

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  • as a nisa member of many yrs , I see major difficulties for sale of nisa . we have had offer from bibby before and the retailer went up in arms and scuttled the deal . nick read has not produced results for nisa as he should have and there is major grumbling going on and seen to be lining his and executive pockets . nisa members are fiercely independent and hold their ownership of nisa dearly . so let the battle commence . read's head will be on chopping block

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  • I think it was 13 years ago that the then bosses of Londis (owned by its retailers) tried to sell us down the river, but got thwarted.
    In the event, we were paid off by Musgrave to the tune of £30,000 each.
    No doubt Musgrave recouped that amount in pretty quick time.
    The good thing for independent retailers being mutual shareholders in their supplier is that the management do genuinely treat us as "retail partners".
    Perhaps NISA retailers could club together and buy NISA themselves?

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  • £130 million seems awfully cheap for Nisa.For the members,not a lot to raise for a members buyout either.Sadly NISA will be bought and swallowed up by a larger group and the retailers will go back to being cash and carry junkies AGAIN.The mults want to close the indie channel by squeezing and squeezing until the pip squeaks

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  • Club together and buy Nisa? A members buyout? Nisa is a mutual organisation. By definition that means it is already owned by its customers. It is open to the customers/members/shareholders to either tell JS to take a hike or take the money and lose one of the independent sector's greatest assets.

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  • I agree with Professor Calba, we own the company already. However there is little doubt that something needs to be done to take the business forward and properly grow it for the benefit of its members and shareholders and to ensure that Nisa members have a competive offer in a very difficult marketplace. I am not sure that JS is the right route and would also like to hear what other offers are on the table. I also think we should guard our mutuality very jealously. Surely from that point of view it is worth detailed discussions with the Co-op.

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  • Indie retailers need to wake up - our range does not match Tesco/Sainsburys etc.. especially our chilled range. When I first joined Nisa I was told it was on par with Tescos - what a joke - i've been a member for nearly a decade. Times have changed and are changing even more with the advent of Whole Foods and the mighty Amazon (who actually don't care much for bottom line profits - only for expansion and to become serious players in any market they enter). The market is about to change forever and Tesco know it - hence the Booker purchase. The share slumps over last weeks Amazon purchase proves this without question.

    Yes there are a lot of decent independent stores servicing their communities for decades etc etc.. but would they survive for long if a multiple opened up close to them? and if so ... how long when Amazon fresh enters their area - 2 hour fresh food deliveries anyone? the independent sector needs to change and diversify and ultimately accept the truth - it has been beaten by the multiples - with only themselves to blame (especially Nisa/CC). There is still hope - everyone (Nisa, CC, Spar, Bestway, Etc) could join forces and create a independently owned super own label brand (similar to co-ops) - however it will never happen.

    Members need to realise change or become the next HMV, KODAK, etc.. of the world and fail because you saw them coming and did nothing...

    There will always be place for bricks and mortar stores - but give the customer a choice and they will diversify - plenty of examples, itunes,netflix, amazon, etc.etc.

    Personally if Sainsburys provide us with an excellent revamped heritage own label (I doubt they'd put their name to it) as well as an excellent chilled range - Nisa can only win - Sainsburys knows what its getting it self into - if they don't support us and give us what we expect - members will simply hand in their 6 month notices .... and leave, unfortunately there's not many places to go to anymore - Nisa will certainly be doomed if Mcolls co-op trial becomes a permanent switch of supply - Nisa will go from £1.5bn TO to £900m in 6 months! (not to mention Select and Saves departure) All very scary - reasons why we need to understand that Nisa is not what it was or what everyone thinks it still is!

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  • "Club together and buy Nisa?" Why not?
    The existing shareholders would then have proper control via a new company, akin to a prepacked administration.
    Is it true that the Co-op offered more than Sainsburys?

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