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Safeway (UK)

Safeway is a chain of supermarkets in the UK, operated by the company Safeway plc. It was founded in 1962 by Safeway[?] from the USA but was sold in 1987. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange. After some unprofitable years in the late 1990s it recovered with a program of store refurbishments. In 2002 it had the fourth largest supermarket sales in the UK. However with perceptions that it was growing more slowly than other large UK chains and a low share price, various takeover rumours circulated during 2002.

On January 9, 2003, the much smaller Wm Morrison Supermarkets made an offer to purchase the chain, offering 1.32 new Morrison shares for each Safeway share, with the cooperation of the Safeway board. However this served only to start a stampede of other potential buyers: J Sainsbury, ASDA / Wal-Mart, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts[?], Trackdean Investments Limited[?] (controlled by Philip Green[?] and owner of BHS[?] and Arcadia[?]) and Tesco all said they were considering making offers. They were all asked to make submissions to the Office of Fair Trading[?] (OFT) for approval under the Fair Trading Act 1973[?]. On January 23 Safeway's board dropped its recommendation of the Morrisons offer. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts later dropped its proposal. On March 19 the remaining proposals except for Trackdean's (which was said to raise no competition issues) were referred to the Competition Commission[?] by the Trade and Industry Secretary[?], Patricia Hewitt[?].

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