State-owned Qatar Investment Authority, which has offered to buy British supermarkets chain J. Sainsbury Plc, has raised a $3 billion loan as a warchest for investments, bankers said on Monday.

Syndication began on Monday although the arranging banks pre-funded the loan or agreed to provide the Qatar Investment Authority with the cash as soon as they signed the deal in June, said the bankers, who did not want to be named.

On June 15 Qatar Investment Authority's Delta Two fund said it had bought about 732 million pounds ($1.5 billion) worth of Sainsbury stock, a month before it announced a 10.6 billion-pound ($21.4 billion) bid to buy Britain's third largest supermarket operator.

The Qatar Investment Authority's nine-month loan can be extended for another six months and is priced at 25 basis points over the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), according to the banker at one of the lenders arranging the facility.

It's a warchest ... for undisclosed investments, said one of the bankers, who asked not to be identified.

HSBC, Gulf International Bank, Qatar National Bank and Standard Chartered arranged the loan.

Syndication started on Monday and closes on September 24. Twenty percent of the banks the arrangers are targeting are in the Middle East, one of the bankers said.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said the Qatar Investment Authority was interested in buying Nasdaq Stock Market Inc's 31 percent stake in London Stock Exchange Plc., which the U.S bourse operator put up for sale.

Qatar Investment Authority's executive director, Hussein Al-Abdullah, declined to comment on that report on Sunday.

Delta Two is already Sainsbury's biggest shareholder with a 25 percent stake.