Sperwer Making Rival Bid for Super de Boer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch supermarkets group Super de Boer NV (SDB.AS) said grocer Sperwer had indicated it would make a 516 million euro ($754 million) bid for the company, topping a 480 million euros offer from Dutch rival Jumbo.

The intended offer from Sperwer came after Jumbo said on Monday it had reached a deal with Schuitema, owned by private equity firm CVC, in which it would sell about 80 Super de Boer stores to Schuitema if its offer for Super de Boer was successful.

“Sperwer announced that, instead of making a public offer, it is prepared to acquire all of the assets and liabilities of Super de Boer, at a price that corresponds to 4.50 euros per share,” Super de Boer said in a statement.

Speculation had risen in recent days that Sperwer and Schuitema were preparing a joint bid for Super de Boer to trump Jumbo’s offer. Shares in Super de Boer fell after news of the compromise between Schuitema and privately-held Jumbo.

Shares in Super de Boer, 57 percent owned by French-based Casino, later reversed losses after the statement that cooperatively-owned Sperwer intended to make a bid and closed 7.1 percent higher at 4.45 euros.

Super de Boer said it would assess the intended Sperwer offer but could not provide any further information and added it had been informed by Schuitema that it did not intend to make an offer for Super de Boer.

Casino declined to comment.

Besides the sale of 80 stores to Schuitema, Jumbo also said it would enter into a purchasing agreement with Schuitema, adding it underscored the attractiveness of its 4.20 euro per share offer for Super de Boer.

Schuitema owns the C1000 supermarket chain in the Netherlands, while Sperwer runs Plus supermarkets.

The bids from both Jumbo and Sperwer for Super de Boer will step up competition with Dutch market leader Albert Heijn, owned by Ahold NV (AHLN.AS), and provide a boost for Casino which previously indicated it was looking to raise about 1 billion euros from selling non-core assets by the end of 2010.

“The Dutch market is ripe for consolidation … Ahold has a 30 percent share while all of the others have got 10 percent,” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Christopher Hogbin said. (Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent in Paris; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6840 Euro)