Morrisons investors set to rubber stamp $10 bln CD&R takeover

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A flag flies exterior a Morrisons grocery store in New Brighton, Britain, July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Picture

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Shareholders in grocery store group Morrisons are anticipated on Tuesday to approve a 7 billion pound ($9.6 billion) supply by U.S. personal fairness agency Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), bringing the curtain down on Britain’s most fiercely contested takeover this yr.

CD&R, which has former Tesco boss Terry Leahy as a senior adviser, received an public sale for Morrisons on Oct. 2, bidding a penny a share greater than a consortium led by Softbank owned Fortress Funding Group.

Investor approval for the deal will conclude a six-month battle to purchase Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-biggest grocer and one of many nation’s greatest meals producers.

It is going to finish Morrisons’ 54-year run as a publicly listed firm and see the last word choices on the group’s future shift from its Bradford, northern England, base to the New York house of CD&R.

Morrisons, which began out as an egg and butter service provider in 1899, trails market chief Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda in annual income.

The battle for Morrisons has been probably the most high-profile amid a raft of bids for British corporations this yr, reflecting personal fairness’s urge for food for cash-generating UK belongings.

With the profitable bid representing a hefty 61% premium on Morrisons’ share worth earlier than takeover curiosity publicly emerged in mid-June, analysts anticipate little or no dissent.

To undergo CD&R’s supply wants the assist of shareholders representing at the very least 75% in worth of voting buyers on the assembly, which is being held each bodily and nearly.

CD&R has dedicated to retaining Morrisons’ Bradford headquarters and its present administration workforce, led by CEO David Potts.

It has additionally stated it is going to execute the grocery store chain’s present technique, not promote its freehold retailer property and keep workers pay charges.

These commitments will not be legally binding, nonetheless.

If, as anticipated, shareholders approve the supply, CD&R may full its takeover by the top of the month, making Morrisons the second UK grocery store chain in a yr to be acquired by personal fairness after a buyout of No. 3 participant Asda, by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, accomplished in February.

($1 = 0.7284 kilos)

Reporting by James Davey; Enhancing by Susan Fenton


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