Speculation over a possible private equity bid for Sainsbury's continues to rumble on in the national press, which focused on a potential £3bn shortfall in the company's pension scheme, this week. The Daily Express reported concerns that a private equity owner might be unwilling to make further contributions to the retailer's pension scheme. Sainsbury's has two schemes that have both been closed to new members for several years, but have a total of more than 86,000 members and, as of last October, had a deficit of £477m. And apparently private equity players aren't the only ones sniffing around.
Asda is once again being touted as a possible bidder. According to The Daily Mail, it will only table a deal once the CVC-led bidders have made their offer.
Asda was also in the papers for its decision to switch production of some of its George clothing range back to the UK. The Daily Telegraph reported that Asda will launch a George clothing range called Made in the UK next month, with each item featuring a Union Jack flag.
The tabloids picked up on a suggestion by a visiting professor at Oxford University that anti-ageing chemicals could be added to food to add up to 10 years to a person's life. The Daily Express said steak or chicken enriched with natural isotopes could help the body resist signs of ageing while the Daily Mail reported research findings that oranges and grapefruits can keep arteries healthy and protect against heart attacks.