Sainsbury’s confirmed this morning that it will maintain ownership of its property portfolio as part of any deal with Qatari-backed investment vehicle Delta Two.

Announcing that it had agreed to open its books for Delta Two to undertake due diligence, Sainsbury’s said: ‘Delta Two shares Sainsbury's management's view that ownership of property is integral to the long-term success of the business.

‘Accordingly, and in line with management's current operational strategy, the retail business and Sainsbury's property assets would remain under common ownership in the same corporate group.’

Sainsbury’s confirmed that it had agreed to let Delta undertake due diligence after a period of negotiation that had seen Delta come back with a revised offer for the company.

This included an increase of £850m in the amount of equity, in the form of shares and payment-in-kind notes, that Delta would but into the 600p a share deal, and assurances that Delta’s £9.6bn credit line, provided by ABN Amro, Credit Suisse and Dresdner Kleinwort, had not been affected by the credit crunch.