Iceland boss faces battle for chain

Updated: 
Iceland modelIceland retail boss Malcolm Walker is facing a battle with two private equity firms over the chain he founded more than 40 years ago.

With Morrisons and Asda now unlikely to bid, Mr Walker remains in the £1 billion auction alongside BC Partners and Bain Capital, reports said.

Mr Walker, who with other members of the senior management team owns a 23% stake in the company, told the Sunday Times that he had rejected multiple approaches to work with private equity on a bid.

He said: "I've worked independently my entire career and the idea of working for other people is just too difficult.


"I thought long and hard and I'm now 100% sure it's the right thing for us to do this alone.

"If I can buy the business with my management team, I will do that at the right price. If not, we'll sell our shares and move on."

Mr Walker's bid team has lined up £150 million of backing from a Canadian pension fund to buy the business, which has nearly 800 stores and was put up for sale last year with a price tag of up to £1.5 billion.

Mr Walker is not expected to submit a bid ahead of Tuesday's deadline as existing shareholder agreements give him 42 days to match any existing offer.

The retailer is being sold off by creditors to Icelandic bank Landsbanki, the collapsed bank that took control of the chain in 2008. Iceland has boomed since the economic downturn as consumers consider frozen food as good value for money.

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