At the last second, the Kardan investment group also decided to bid for the Blue Square Co-operative Society, TheMarker has learned.

Today was the final day to buy documents for the tender Blue Square published for all its holdings in the Blue Square retail chain, and in the chain of Hamashbir Lazarchan department stores.

TheMarker has also learned that the international investment fund Apax contacted several of the expected contenders for Blue Square and offered to finance part of the deal. Among others, the fund contacted businessman Zadik Bino. Market sources believe its motives derive from its strategy of financing leveraged buyouts around the world.

Apax commented that its representatives did meet with Bino, but that financing a Blue Square deal had not been on the agenda.

Bino commented that he does not need help with financing the deal, since arrangements have already been made. Financing is likely to come from his partner in contending for Bank Leumi, namely

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Bank Leumi (TASE:

LUMI

).

Apax' spokesperson emphasized that the fund is not party to any bids for Blue Square.

Kardan aside, six other groups are known to want to take over Blue Square. Only one group is reportedly interested in Hamashbir, which has been suffering from heavy losses and has had difficulty paying salaries.