Supermarket group Morrisons on Friday (6 August) accepted an improved takeover bid from an international consortium worth £6.7 billion as it faces a possible rival offer.
The consortium, headed by Softbank-owned Fortress, said it had increased its original £6.3-billion offer as US private equity rival Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is reportedly mulling its own improved bid ahead of a deadline Monday.
Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket on sales, has been caught in a bidding war as the country’s supermarket sector benefits hugely from a shift to online shopping during the pandemic.
Fortress has formed a consortium comprising also Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Koch Real Estate and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
It revealed in a statement Friday that the improved offer follows “speculation regarding a possible counter-offer” by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).
“Morrisons directors believe that the increased Fortress offer is in the best interests of Morrisons shareholders,” the statement added.
It comes also after Morrisons’ largest shareholder, investment group Silchester, said it would not back the original consortium bid.
CD&R has until Monday to make a fresh bid under UK takeover rules and after Morrisons in June rejected its £5.5-billion offer.