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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia’s Coles Group has rejected a takeover bid from Westfarmers, the nation’s largest home improvement company, that was the equivalent of $16 billion (US). The company’s board of directors urged its shareholders not to sell their shares to Westfarmers, saying that they well could do better by holding out for a likely competitive bid from a consortium led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

"Until such time as Coles' ownership review has been completed and the Coles board has made a recommendation to shareholders, Coles shareholders are advised not to sell, or grant economic or voting interests over their shares," the company said in a prepared statement.

Westfarmers CEO Richard Goyder said yesterday that his company remained in the hunt for Coles, though he also said he would not be lured into a bidding war.

Meanwhile, speculation continues to appear in the media that UK-based Tesco is using these other companies and consortiums as stalking horses before swooping in and making a bid that ultimately will win the day.
KC's View:
It actually sort of sounds like Goyder is in a bidding war, whether he likes it or not.

And while Tesco is playing its cards very close to the vest, we wouldn’t want to bet against the idea that Tesco – or even Wal-Mart, also rumored to be interested - will be the ultimate winner in this game.