Morrisons could table a fresh bid for Safeway before Christmas now that the Office of Fair Trading has ended talks with rival supermarkets about the break-up of the UK’s fourth largest grocer.

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt is expected to publish next week revised restrictions on the unsuccessful bidders - Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury - for the parts of Safeway they could buy, other than a handful of the 53 stores Morrisons has to divest.

Once published, Morrisons can make a fresh bid.

A source close to the company said Sir Ken Morrison had last week signed a revised draft of undertakings from the OFT.

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