Supermarket deal

Morrisons agrees £6.3bn takeover by Fortress Investment Group


The chain will move into private hands

Morrisons, the supermarket chain, has agreed a £6.3 billion takeover offer from Softbank-owned Fortress Investment Group, which exceeds the value of an earlier offer from a rival private equity group.

The offer is backed by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investment and exceeds the £5.52bn proposal from US firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

FTSE 100-listed Morrisons rejected that offer on 19 June, saying it undervalued the Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket business.

Under the terms of the deal, Morrisons shareholders will receive 254p per share, comprising 252p in cash and a 2p cash dividend.

It said the offer represents a premium of 42% to its closing share price of 178p on 18 June – the last business day before CD&R’s proposal. Shares in Morrisons closed on Friday at 243p.

Andrew Higginson, Morrisons chairman, said: “We have looked very carefully at Fortress’ approach, their plans for the business and their overall suitability as an owner of a unique British food-maker and shopkeeper with over 110,000 colleagues and an important role in British food production and farming.”

Morrisons said it had received an initial unsolicited proposal from Fortress on 4 May at 220p a share which was not made public.

Fortress is a global investment manager with about $53 billion in assets under management as of March.

CD&R had been given until 17 July to conform its proposal.

Morrisons was founded by William Morrison in 1899 as an egg and butter stall in Bradford.

It became a publicly listed business in 1967.

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