Aug 9, 2021

Morrisons takeover battle extended as CD&R given more time to bid

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has been given until August 20 to bid for Wm Morrison, the UK's takeover regulator said on Monday, in the latest twist in a bidding war between two US private equity firms for control of the UK's third-largest supermarket chain. CD&R, which had previously been given until 5pm on Monday to make an offer or walk away, asked for more time when its rival bidder, SoftBank-owned Fortress, increased its bid to almost £10bn on Friday. The move indicates that a bidding war for the company is likely to stretch out, since the panel typically grants such extensions to bidders only if convinced that they are serious about making a higher offer. Both bidders believe the regulator could eventually take the rare step of intervening to end the battle by holding an auction for Morrisons. The last time it staged such an auction was in 2018 to end a bidding war for Sky, which resulted in a £30bn knockout bid from US giant Comcast.

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