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LONDON - Retail tycoon Philip Green has formally submitted his bid proposal for UK supermarket Safeway Plc, the Office of Fair Trading said on Tuesday, showing he is serious about joining the hotly contested takeover battle.
Green had originally hoped for a green light for his proposed cash bid, but the OFT insisted last month that he make a formal application, putting him on a level playing field with four other potential trade buyers, Reuters reports.
He had also requested additional financial information from Safeway as he tried to formulate his bid plan, and his decision to press ahead shows he was not put off by what he saw.
Green's family-owned firm, Trackdean, is the fifth potential bidder to ask for official clearance to buy Safeway's 484 stores, but William Morrison Supermarkets remains the only one with a firm offer on the table.
Morrison kicked off the battle for Safeway with an agreed all-share offer last month. That offer values the country's fourth-largest food retailer, with a 10 percent market share, at 2.35 billion pounds ($3.79 billion).
Britain's top three supermarket chains Tesco Plc, J Sainsbury, and ASDA -- via its U.S. owner Wal-Mart -- have also entered the fray and have already submitted their plans to the competition regulator, which is aiming to decide by March 18 whether to refer the bids for further scrutiny.