‘Czech sphinx’ buys Sains­bury’s stake af­ter move for Royal Mail

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Oliver Gill

CZECH bil­lion­aire Daniel Kretinsky has launched a fresh as­sault on one of the biggest house­hold names in UK busi­ness – by tak­ing a ma­jor stake in Sains­bury’s.

The se­rial in­vestor, dubbed the “Czech sphinx”, has dis­closed a 3pc stake worth roughly £130m in the su­per­mar­ket, mak­ing him the firm’s fourth-largest share­holder.

The dis­clo­sure fol­lows Mr Kretinsky’s stake build­ing in

Royal Mail, which has led to him be­com­ing the postal mo­nop­oly’s biggest in­vestor.

Spec­u­la­tion has mounted this year that the Czech, best known for in­vest­ing in the en­ergy sec­tor, may be look­ing to break up Royal Mail.

While its woes in the UK have been ex­ac­er­bated by the Covid cri­sis, the FTSE 250 com­pany’s over­seas arm, GLS, con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength.

Branislav Miskovic, a di­rec­tor at Mr Kretinsky’s fund Vesa Eq­uity In­vest­ment, said: “The seg­ment of food re­tail dis­tri­bu­tion has been one of the key ar­eas of in­ter­est for Vesa Eq­uity In­vest­ment. We view Sains­bury’s as an at­trac­tive in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.”

Shares in Sains­bury’s ended 3.3pc higher at 191.1p, but are still be­low their 232p level at the start of Jan­uary.

The su­per­mar­ket chain, which also owns Ar­gos, is worth £4.25bn – less than a fifth of Tesco’s £21bn market cap. Sains­bury’s de­clined to com­ment.

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