CD&R Wins $10B Auction For UK Supermarket Chain Morrisons
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has won the auction for Morrisons with a 7- billion pound ($9.5 billion) bid, paving the way for the US private equity firm to take control of Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket group, James Davey and Sarah Young reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Morrisons is Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket group
The board of Morrisons recommended CD&R's 287 pence per share bid on Saturday, hours after its bid beat a consortium led by Softbank (9434.T) owned Fortress Investment Group, which had made an offer worth just a penny less per share at 286 pence.
CD&R's victory marks a triumphant return to the UK grocery sector for Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Britain's biggest supermarket chain Tesco, who is a senior adviser to CD&R.
The board recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the 287 pence per share offer at a meeting slated for Oct. 19, saying the private equity group had confirmed its previously stated intentions towards Morrisons remained unchanged.
"Today's final offer from CD&R represents excellent value for shareholders while at the same time protecting the fundamental character of Morrisons for all stakeholders," Morrisons Chairman Andrew Higginson said in a statement.
If shareholders approve the offer, CD&R could complete its takeover by the end of the month, making Morrisons the second UK supermarket chain in a year to be acquired by private equity after a buyout of No. 3 player Asda, completed in February.