The battle to acquire Morrisons is set to come to a head this Saturday, as the rival bidders take part in a straight shootout to determine who will take over the UK's fourth-largest retailer.
Both Fortress Investment Group and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice have tabled bids for Morrisons in recent weeks, but based on the fact that neither party has declared its final offer, the UK's Takeover Panel has established a five-round auction procedure that will take place on 2 October.
In the first round, either party may make an increased bid, and should the procedure not be concluded in this first round, a further three rounds will take place, in which either party will be able to make a bid provided the rival party has made a bid in the preceding round.
'If the auction procedure has not concluded after these three further rounds (which it will if no increased bid is made in a round), there will be a fifth and final round, in which both offerors may make an increased bid,' the Takeover Panel said in a statement.
In the final round, each party is permitted to make its offer subject to a condition that the other party also makes a bid in that round.
Once this process is completed, the Panel Executive will make an announcement on the result of the auction procedure, which is set for 7am on Monday 4 October, while both parties are also required to make an announcement.
Following this process, on 5 October, Morrisons will announce its views on the matter, and issue its intended recommendation to shareholders.
Earlier this month, Morrisons reported a 37.1% fall in first-half profit, with the retailer citing high COVID-19 related costs and a pandemic impact on its food-to-go operations.
Sales were down 3.7% in the second quarter, having risen 2.7% in the first quarter.