The Co-op Group has entered exclusive talks to acquire convenience store firm Nisa Retail, putting it ahead of rivals Sainsbury’s.
After recent weeks of ‘positive discussions’ the Nisa board has granted a ‘period of exclusivity’ to Co-op, who are understood to be considering a £140m bid to take over the member-owned business.
Sainsbury’s had also been reportedly considering a bid but decide to pull back from the process amid concerns about the likely view of the competition regulators.
Peter Hartley Nisa’s chairman told members: “The board of Nisa has held a number of positive discussions with the Co-op in recent weeks, following its reaffirmation of interest in making an offer for your company.
“Should an offer of merit emerge from this process, it will be for you, the members, to decide on whether to accept it.”
Any takeover bid would need to be approved by Nisa’s 1,400 shopkeeper members.
A Co-op spokesman said: “We can confirm that we’ve entered into a period of exclusivity with Nisa, which will provide the opportunity for us to carry out more detailed due diligence in the coming weeks.
“Following this period and subject to approval from our board, we hope to be in position where we can put forward an offer to Nisa members “