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In the UK, it is reported that retailing entrepreneur Philip Green wants to reconsider his desire to bid for Safeway Plc in the light of the volatile stock markets and the war in Iraq. Green also reportedly wants to see the company’s next quarterly report, due in a few weeks, before making his next move.

Remarkably, Green at present is the only one interested in Safeway Plc that can actually buy the company. Competing bids from the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury, Wal-Mart and William Morrison Supermarkets have been referred to the Competition Commission because of concerns about the impact of their acquisition of the company.

Yesterday, things got even more dicey when the government said it was reconsidering its definition of a ‘competitive local environment” is. At present, it is defined as when there are three different supermarkets within a 15 minute drive of each other, but regulators are considering a change to “four stores within 20 minutes of each other,” which would force almost anyone other than Green acquiring Safeway to divest a number of stores.

In addition, The Observer reports that Green will not be allowed to break up and sell off huge chunks of Safeway if he buys the company.
KC's View:
Jeez, it was going to be a nice, simple little acquisition of Safeway when William Morrison first proposed it several weeks ago. And now….well, now it has turned into the proverbial hairball.