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The British media report on yet another twist in the ongoing feeding frenzy over Safeway Plc, the nation's fourth largest supermarket chain. Wal-Mart's Asda Group and William Morrison Supermarkets may launch a joint bid for the company if retail entrepreneur Philip Green decided to make a play for the company. However, both Wal-Mart and Morrison have characterized the reports as "pure speculation."

At the moment, UK trade secretary Patricia Hewitt is examining undisclosed recommendations made by the UK Competition Commission about what companies may bid for Safeway Plc.

The companies under consideration include Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda Group, Sainsbury, and William Morrison Supermarkets. Until now, the conventional wisdom has been that Morrison - the nation's fifth-ranked food chain - was the only company likely to be approved to make a bid for fourth-ranked Safeway. The theory was that a Morrison purchase of Safeway would actually create a stronger company to be a fourth alternative to the other three major food retailers. But Wal-Mart reportedly made a last minute pitch to the Commission to keep its possibilities alive.
KC's View:
Is there anything that Wal-Mart won't do to acquire Safeway?