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Retail

Morrisons Agrees To Fortress' Raised Offer Worth £6.7bn

British supermarket group Morrisons has agreed to a raised takeover offer worth £6.7 billion ($9.3 billion) from a consortium led by Softbank owned Fortress Investment Group, it said on Friday.

The new Fortress offer comprises 270 pence per Morrisons share plus a 2p a share special dividend, and is aimed at warding off a possible counter offer by US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

'(Fortress) remains committed to becoming the new owner of Morrisons and to being a responsible long-term steward of this great British company through the next stage of its evolution,' it said.

Morrisons said its board had re-confirmed its unanimous recommendation of the offer.

Previous Offer

The board had previously agreed a Fortress offer worth 254 pence a share or a total of £6.3 billion on 3 July.

However, major Morrisons investors Silchester, M&G and JO Hambro all indicated that offer was too low.

Shares in Morrisons were up 2.5% at 278.75p by 10:55 GMT.

Shareholders in Morrisons are due to vote on the Fortress bid on 16 August.

To pass, the offer needs the support of shareholders representing at least 75% in value of voting investors at the meeting.

Analysts have speculated that Amazon, which has a partnership deal with Morrisons, could still enter the fray.

Rival Bid

US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) CD&R had a 230 pence a share proposal worth £5.52 billion rejected by Morrisons on 17 June.

Britain's Takeover Panel, which regulates corporate takeovers, had set an 9 August deadline for CD&R to come back.

Earlier this week, shares in Morrisons hit almost eight-year highs as investors looked to its return with a higher offer to counter Fortress' bid to acquire the supermarket chain.

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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