Morrisons shareholders set to approve £7bn CD&R takeover

·Business reporter
·2-min read
Morrisons shareholders set to approve £7bn CD&R takeover
CD&R emerged victorious from the auction after its 287p per ordinary share offer against Fortress' 286p. Photo: Ian West/PA Images via Getty

Shareholders in Morrisons (MRW.L) are expected to give US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice (CD&R) the green light on its £7bn ($9.6bn) offer for the company.

The approval, which needs the support of at least 75% of investors on Tuesday, will bring a long takeover battle for the supermarket chain to an end.

Earlier this month CD&R, which counts former Tesco (TSCO.L) boss Terry Leahy as a senior adviser, narrowly won an auction for Morrisons after bidding a penny a share more than Fortress Investment Group.

Fortress, which controls Majestic Wine, is owned by Japanese investment firm SoftBank (SFTBY), and partnered up with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the billionaire US industrialist Koch family.

CD&R emerged victorious from the auction after its 287p per ordinary share offer against Fortress' 286p. The winning bid represented a 61% premium on Morrisons’ share price before takeover interest was made public in June.

The total value of CD&R’s final offer, when including debt, is worth £9.8bn. The offer no longer can be increased unless a new suitor comes in with a firm bid for the company.

Read more: Why Morrisons has become a takeover target

CD&R has pledged it will keep Morrisons’ headquarters in Bradford, as well as its existing management team.

It said previously that it recognised Morrisons' “history and culture, and considers that this strong heritage is core to Morrisons and its approach to grocery retailing”.

However, the move means that Morrisons will no longer be a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange, and CD&R will take over by November.

Through CD&R, Leahy is also chairman of Motor Fuel Group which operates hundreds of petrol forecourts and convenience stores.

The deal means that the Morrisons brand could potentially be rolled out across Motor Fuel Group's 918 sites, but this could face scrutiny from the competition watchdog.

Read more: Morrisons takeover battle poised for auction

Private equity firms have snapped up more British firms in the last 18 months than at any time since the financial crisis, according to data from Dealogic.

The swoop for Morrisons marks the second time this year that a private equity firm has been involved in the takeover of a UK supermarket.

TDR Capital and billionaire Issa brothers bought a majority stake in Asda from US parent Walmart (WMT) earlier this year. Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky also increased his stake in Sainsbury’s to 10% in April.

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