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Retail

As The Battle For Morrisons Heads To Auction, Here's The Story So Far

With the fate of supermarket group Morrisons set to be determined in a one-day 'shootout'-style auction process on Saturday, overseen by the UK's Takeover Panel, here's an overview of events to date.

Since the summer, the retailer has been the subject of the country's most high-profile takeover battle for some years, with a raft of bids and counter bids reflecting private equity's appetite for British plcs.

Either way, by early next week, we should have a clearer picture as to the future ownership of the UK's fourth-biggest grocer.

Here is a timeline of events so far:

June 19: Morrisons rejects a proposed £5.52 billion cash offer from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

June 30: Morrisons investor JO Hambro says CD&R should increase its offer to around £6.5 billion.

July 3: Morrisons agrees to a £6.3 billion offer from a consortium led by SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Group.

July 5: A third private equity group, Apollo Global Management, says it is evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons.

July 20: Apollo says it will not bid for Morrisons on its own, but may join the Fortress consortium.

July 22: Scheme document outlining Fortress' offer is published and August 16 set for Morrisons' shareholders to vote on offer. UK Takeover Panel gives CD&R until August 9 to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

July 27: Silchester, Morrisons' biggest shareholder, says it is not inclined to support Fortress offer.

July 28: Singapore's GIC sovereign wealth fund joins the Fortress-led consortium.

July 29: Morrisons investor M&G says Fortress' offer does not reflect the value of the group.

August 6: Morrisons agrees to an improved offer worth £6.7 billion from the Fortress consortium and adjourns until August 27 a shareholder meeting to vote on the offer.

August 9: The Takeover Panel extends CD&R's "put-up or shut-up" deadline until August 20.

August 19: Morrisons agrees to a £7.0 billion offer from CD&R, and drops Fortress' recommendation. Fortress says it is "considering its options". Morrisons says the August 27 shareholder meeting will instead be held around the week commencing October 4.

August 23: Morrisons shareholder Legal & General says it believes the true value of the supermarket group should be realised following CD&R's sweetened bid, with more attention now being paid to its property assets.

August 24: Morrisons' pension schemes warn a takeover by either CD&R or Fortress could "materially weaken" the security of the schemes if no additional protection is agreed.

August 27: Morrisons says the scheme document for CD&R's offer is to be published on or around September 11. It says a shareholder meeting to vote on the CD&R offer will be held on or around October 5.

September 8: Morrisons says it is in talks with CD&R, Fortress and the Takeover Panel over an auction process. It says the scheme document for CD&R's offer is to be published around September 25, with a shareholder meeting around October 18.

September 9: Morrisons reports its half-year results, in which it sees a 37% fall in first-half profit.

September 14: CD&R reaches agreement with pension trustees to provide additional security and support.

September 25: Scheme document for CD&R's offer published. Shareholder meeting slated for October 19.

September 29: The Takeover Panel says an auction will be held on October 2.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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