Supermarket chain Morrisons won at auction by US private equity firm with £7bn bid

UK

A US private equity firm has won the auction for British supermarket group Morrisons with a £7bn bid.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) bid 287 pence per share.

Morrisons is Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket by market share, after market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Based in Bradford, the business began as an egg and butter merchant in 1899.

The battle for Morrisons is the most high-profile among a spate of bids for British companies this year, reflecting private equity’s appetite for cash-generating assets.

The Takeover Panel, which governs the process for M&A deals in Britain, moved to an auction because neither bidder had declared their offers final.

The panel said the US firm outbid a consortium led by the Softbank owned Fortress Investment Group, which had offered 286 pence.

Morrisons’ board, due to meet later, is now expected to recommend that shareholders accept the new offer at their meeting on 19 October.

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