While the commission was drawing up its report, the process of consolidation in the industry ground to a halt. No one was willing to buy a major multiple in case they found they were forced to sell off some of its best assets when the commission reported. With such a toothless result the gloves will be off, and one of the names that keeps cropping up is Safeway. The latest speculation is that a capital venture group will buy Safeway and sell off its stores to the highest bidder. But chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez insists that he has had no approaches. "Nobody has been on the phone to me and I am not looking for anybody to be on the phone. We want to remain independent. "Our share price makes us too expensive to do a butchery job on us. We can defend our performance much more than before and I am sure our shareprice reflects that." He is also one of those who doubts that consolidation will happen in the near future. "The UK is still a relatively insular market. The big retailers like Carrefour must be looking at the UK. Wal-Mart will not be the last one to come here. But there is no sign that that will happen immediately." {{NEWS }}