Aug 6, 2021

Fortress ups stakes in Morrisons bidding war

US private equity group Fortress has increased its offer for the supermarket chain Wm Morrison to nearly £10bn, raising the stakes in a fierce battle for control of one of Britain's biggest grocers. Under the existing timetable for the Morrisons deal, CD&R has until Monday to decide whether to outbid Fortress or walk away. The retailer's board is still backing the Fortress proposal, but it has asked the UK's Takeover Panel to extend the deadline and has postponed a shareholder vote on the deal from August 16 to August 27, in response to a request from CD&R. The latest Fortress offer is 270p per share plus a 2p per share special dividend, a 7 per cent increase in the previous offer of 252p plus a 2p dividend. Under the new deal, Fortress would own 65 per cent of a company set up to own the grocer, with Koch owning 22 per cent and GIC 13 per cent. The Fortress offer is less likely to attract detailed scrutiny from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, whereas a bid from CD&R may trigger an investigation because of the overlap between Morrisons' petrol stations and those operated by Motor Fuel Group, which CD&R already owns.

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