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Qatar Investment Authority Eyes Marks & Spencer

The Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund is talking to private equity companies and banks with an eye to forming a consortium to bid for the retailer.

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QATARIS EYE MARKS & SPENCER: Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, is talking to private equity companies and banks with an eye to forming a consortium to bid for Marks & Spencer, according to the Sunday Times of London.

The front-page story, citing senior sources in London, said the bid would be worth 8 billion pounds, or $12.08 billion at current exchange. CVC, the British buyout firm, was reported to be one of the groups with which the QIA has held talks. The newspaper added that no one has yet approached M&S.

An M&S spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, and the QIA could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Other Qatar investments include Harrods, which Qatar Holdings took control of in 2010 for $2.22 billion; a 26 percent stake in British food retailer J. Sainsbury in 2010, and a 1.03 percent stake in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In December, QIA raised its investment stake in Tiffany & Co. to 7.8 percent from 5.2 percent.

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