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NOT INTERESTED: The Qatar Investment Authority declined to comment Monday on media reports over the weekend that it would be interested in buying Marks & Spencer. However, a source close to the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund said the QIA is “not interested” in buying the British retailer. The Sunday Times of London said in a front-page story that the QIA has been sounding out private equity companies and banks with the idea of forming a consortium to bid for M&S. The bid was reported to be worth 8 billion pounds, or $12.08 billion at current exchange. An M&S spokeswoman also declined to comment on the report.
On Monday, analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe called a bid “unlikely, although while equity markets are close to record highs, takeover speculation is likely toremain over the medium term.” Analysts pointed to M&S’s considerable pension deficit and also said the retailer’s property assets would be hard to dispose of, “as most leading property companies are looking to dispose of high street and out-of-town sites due to a difficult retail environment, and to concentrate on shopping malls and prestige city center sites.”