Burr James Davey and Sarah Young
LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm Clayton, Dobelli and Rice won the auction of Morrisons’ 7 billion pound ($9.5 billion) bid, paving the way for control of the fourth-largest supermarket group from Great Britain.
Auction organizers said Saturday that CD&R offered 287 pence per share, while a consortium led by Softbank’s Fortress offered 286 pence.
The winning bid was just over 285 pence from CD&R, which Morrisons’ board of directors recommended in August. The board, which is set to meet on Saturday, is expected to recommend shareholders to accept the new offer at a shareholder meeting scheduled for October 19.
Morrisons and CD&R did not immediately comment on the outcome of the auction.
If shareholders approve the offer, CD&R could complete its acquisition of Morrisons by the end of the month, the second UK supermarket chain in a year to be acquired by private equity after the Asda purchase completed in February.
Morrisons began selling eggs and butter in 1899. It listed in 1967 and is the fourth largest grocer in Britain after Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda.
The Morrisons battle, which has been raging since May, is another chapter in a series of bids by private equity firms for cash-generating assets in the UK. Sainsbury’s has been identified as another target for these funds.
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