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Shares soar as Apollo enters Morrisons bid battle


5.15pm: Morrisons higher on rival offer


Morrisons closed 11.55% (27.7p) higher at 267.2p after US-based private equity group Apollo Global Management confirmed that it is considering a rival bid for Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket group.

Apollo, which has approximately £300bn in assets under management, said it is in the ‘preliminary stages of evaluating a possible offer’ and that it has not yet made an approach to the board.

The current price is well above the agreed 254p offer from Fortress Investment Group announced on Saturday which topped the 230p per share offered by Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) on 18 June. Shareholder JO Hambro said last week that it would be willing to consider an offer in the region of 270p.

At the close of an otherwise quiet session, the FTSE 100 index was up by 41 points, or 0.59%, at 7,164, just below the peak of 7,168 as traders were buoyed by indications of lockdown being eased further.

Wall Street was closed for the Independence Day holiday.

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8am: London edges lower

Shares in Morrisons, the supermarkets chain, rose 27.50p (11.47%) to 267.15p which is above the 254p agreed bid announced on Saturday and suggests the market expects a rival offer to emerge.

The agreed offer from Fortress Investment Group is above the 230p per share offered by Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) on 18 June – but short of the 270p which shareholder JO Hambro said last week that it would be willing to consider. 

The bid has put other supermarket groups in focus. Sainsbury’s was up 3.90p (1.43%) at 275.9p while Tesco shares rose 2.45p (1.09%) to 227p.

The FTSE 100 edged slightly lower at the open to trade just under 3 points down at 7,120.50.

7am: McColl’s ‘unaffected’ by Morrisons deal

McColl’s Retail Group said its wholesale supply contract with Morrisons will not be affected by any potential change in ownership of the supermarket chain, announced on Saturday.

The contract was extended in February 2021 by a further three years to January 2027, providing the business with even greater access to Morrisons’ grocery expertise and brand.

The company said its focus remains firmly on maximising efficiency in its wholesale supply arrangements and the successful rollout of Morrisons Daily conversions across the estate.

McColl’s said it “looks forward to continuing to build on the strong relationship developed with Morrisons over the years to serve our local neighbourhood communities with a high quality convenience offer.”

Global markets

Wall Street will be closed for the Independence Day holiday and Asia’s mixed performance is giving few pointers for the day ahead.

Crude prices slipped back after the United Arab Emirates rejected Saudi Arabian demands to maintain production levels.

The UAE wants to increase output, setting up a potential showdown at the oil cartel’s next major meeting.

UK traders will focus on the planned removal of lockdown restrictions in England on 19 July which will be more influential on the markets than the likely delay until August in Scotland.

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