Sainsbury's agrees £1.4bn deal for Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group
Supermarket Sainsbury's has won its four-month battle to buy Argos owner Home Retail Group after agreeing a £1.4 billion deal.
Sainsbury's said the move will create a "multi-product, multi-channel" business with around 200 stores.
The successful bid by Sainsbury's for Home Retail Group would greatly extend its reach in Northern Ireland - and bring it into the Republic of Ireland for the first time.
Sainsbury's currently has 13 of its own stores in Northern Ireland, while there are nearly 20 Argos and nine Homebase stores.
Over the last year, Sainsbury's has worked in partnership with Home Retail Group to trial Argos concessions in their supermarket stores.
There have been suggestions that Sainsbury's will shut a number of the 734 stores in the Argos chain across the UK and bring them into its supermarkets as concessions. Retail experts believe between 150 and 200 Argos stores could be affected.
Chairman David Tyler said: "We are very pleased the board of Home Retail Group has recommended our offer for the acquisition of its business to its shareholders.
"The combined business will offer a multi-product, multi-channel proposition, with fast delivery networks, which we believe will be very attractive to customers and which will create value to both sets of shareholders."
Home Retail Group chairman John Coombe added: "Argos is both an icon of the British high street and also a leader in the digital transformation of UK retailing.
"We are pleased that Sainsbury's has recognised our progress and our potential with its recommended acquisition of Home Retail Group."
The deal will see Sainsbury's pay 0.321 new shares and 55p per share in cash to buy Argos, and will see Home Retail Group shareholders hold 12% of the combined business.
Sainsbury's said the deal should be completed in the third quarter of this year.