The pension deficit of J Sainbury could represent a poison pill in the plans by Delta Two, the Qatari-backed fund, to take over the supermarket chain. The Sunday Times. The Sunday Telegraph. The Observer

The Sainsbury’s board expected to open its books to Delta Two as early as this week.

However, it is understood the pension trustees intend to ‘do a Boots’ by trying to force the Qataris to pay billions into the scheme. It is believed the trustees, led by chairman John Adstead, are in a strong position because a clause in the Sainsbury’s pension trust allows Adstead to demand increases in the company’s contributions if there is a change of ownership.

The Qatari government may be asked to underwrite the £6bn lending provision needed to land the supermarket chain.

The biggest barrier to securing the approval of the Sainsbury's board, led by chairman Sir Philip Hampton, has been the amount of debt Delta Two plans to use to finance the £10.6bn takeover.