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Byline: Laura Board in London
A new bonanza for bankers, lawyers and appraisers beckoned Friday, Sept. 26, after the U.K. government said Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc should shed 53 stores -- valued at up to an estimated [pounds sterling]600 million ($996 million) -- if it acquires larger rival Safeway plc.
As widely predicted, Morrison was the only grocer Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt permitted Friday to bid for the fourth-ranked chain. Takeover proposals by market leader Tesco plc, No. 2 J Sainsbury plc and No. 3 Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Asda were banned on competition grounds.
But Hewitt gave the thwarted trio the go-ahead to bid for the 53 stores in Safeway's 480-strong portfolio, a move that should extend the nine-month …