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LONDON - Wal-Mart is reportedly attempting to build a significant stake in its Safeway bid, as the retailer is said to recently have approached some of Safeway's top shareholders, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The move comes as the Department of Trade and Industry prepares to rule later this week on whether to refer the bid interest from Wal-Mart, Tesco, J Sainsbury, Wm Morrison Supermarkets, and Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur, to the Competition Commission. Wal-Mart would be prohibited from buying shares after any referral.
Safeway's top 10 shareholders, which account for 54 percent of the group's ownership, include Fidelity, Legal & General, Scottish Widows and UBS. Wal-Mart, the only bidder not prevented from buying Safeway shares, could block a takeover if it accumulated a 29.9 percent stake.