Morrisons takeover: Shareholders give green light for £7bn deal with US suitor

·2 min read
Morrisons has been at the centre of a takeover battle in 2021  (PA Wire)
Morrisons has been at the centre of a takeover battle in 2021 (PA Wire)

Shareholders in supermarket chain Morrisons have approved a £7 billion takeover by US private equity group Clayton, Dubiler & Rice (CD&R).

That means the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket business will end its 54-year run as publicly-listed firm.

Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “We thank shareholders for the strong support received at today's meetings. We remain confident that CD&R will be a responsible, thoughtful and careful owner of Morrisons and we will now move forward with the remaining steps in the acquisition process.”

The grocer, led by David Potts, has been at the centre of a takeover battle since June, when an initial 230p proposal from CD&R was rejected. A Fortress-led consortium then approached the retailer with a higher proposal.

Various offers were mooted and earlier this month CD&R, advised by ex Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, won an auction for Morrisons at a price of 287p per share.

Today the proposal secured enough support from investors in Morrisons.

Leahy said: "We are very pleased to have received the approval of shareholders and are excited at the opportunity that lies ahead.”

He added: “The particular heritage, culture and operating model of Morrisons are key features of the company and we will be very mindful of these during our tenure as owners. We very much look forward to working with the Morrisons team, not just to preserve the company's many strengths - but to build on these, with innovation, capital and new technology - helping the business realise its full potential and delivering for all of its stakeholders."

Morrisons attracted buyer interest due both to the huge amounts of cash it generates and its £6 billion property portfolio.

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “287p is a great price, given the supply chain problems of the supermarket industry and the fact that Morrisons was stuck at 170p-180p for several years.”

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