Qatar starts talks with Sainsbury pension trustees

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LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) Qatari-backed investment fund Delta Two, which is in talks to buy Britain's J Sainsbury Plc, said on Tuesday it had agreed a framework for starting talks with the supermarket group's pension trustees.

Sainsbury agreed last week to open its books to Delta Two, which already owns 25 percent of Britain's third-biggest grocer, after the fund tabled a 600 pence-a-share bid proposal which values Sainsbury at about 10.6 billion pounds (.5 billion).

Pension trustees have become key players in British mergers and acquisitions, often demanding large payments into company pension schemes in exchange for their support for bids.

Delta Two said it had agreed the terms for an exchange of confidential information with Sainsbury's pension trustees.

''Following the exchange of confidential information, the two parties will be able to engage in detailed discussions regarding the impact of the proposed transaction on the Sainsbury's pension schemes and the appropriate terms of any agreement,'' it said in a statement.

''Accordingly, Delta Two has not yet made any pension proposal to the trustees and nor has it received any funding requirement proposal from the trustees,'' it added.

Shares in Sainsbury, whose founding family helped to scupper a 582-pence-a-share bid proposal from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners earlier this year, closed at 574 pence on Monday.

REUTERS KR KP1325

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