Morrisons shareholder LGIM says new bids closer to true value

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A view of a Morrisons supermarket in Birtley

(Reuters) - Morrisons shareholder Legal & General said on Monday it believed the true value of the supermarket chain should be realised following the sweetened bid from private equity group CD&R, with more attention now being paid to its property assets.

The British retailer is at the heart of a bidding war between two U.S. private equity groups. Last week it agreed a 285 pence a share takeover offer from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), although its shares jumped above the bid price, indicating the battle could have further to run.

Legal & General Investment Management, Morrisons' eighth biggest shareholder according to Refinitiv data, had previously criticised an earlier offer of 230p per share.

It said on Monday it had been worried about a lack of disclosure around the value of the Morrisons property portfolio, but with more competitive bids being made, the parties will have paid more attention to the assets.

"We note the bid from CD&R for Morrisons last week with interest," Andrew Koch, senior fund manager at LGIM, said in an emailed statement.

"This gives us some comfort that the true value should be realised for shareholders including our clients," the statement added. "However, we continue to look into the other aspects of the bid, including commitments for the future management of the business."

The latest offer for Morrisons, valuing the business at 7 billion pounds ($9.6 billion), is the most high-profile deal amid a raft of bids and counter bids playing out in Britain this year, reflecting private equity's appetite for UK Plc.

Earlier in the day, shares of Morrisons' bigger rival Sainsbury's surged 14% after a report that private equity firms could launch bids worth more than 7 billion pounds for Britain's second biggest supermarket chain.

($1 = 0.7287 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and Kate Holton in London; Editing by David Holmes)

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