Morrisons’ shareholder won’t support takeover bid

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Morrisons’ largest shareholder has said it is “not inclined” to support a £6.3bn takeover deal agreed by the supermarket’s board.

The investment business Silchester, which holds a 15.1% stake in the Bradford-headquartered group, said the board should provide more time for offers to emerge that might surpass the bid from a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group.

It also said there seemed little in the plans outlined by Morrisons that could not be achieved were it to remain a stock market listed company.

Its statement comes ahead of a meeting due to take place on 16 August, when shareholders will be asked to approve the deal.

Silchester said it was “not inclined to support the existing Fortress offer” at the shareholder meeting.

Silchester said it would like the Morrisons board “to allow more time to respond to other parties who might offer better value to Morrison’s public shareholders”.

And it adds: “Furthermore, on the basis of publicly available information, there is little in the recommended offer that could not be achieved by Morrison as a listed company.

“As a listed company, all benefits accrue to public shareholders.”

Last month, it was first revealed that Morrisons had rejected a £5.5bn approach from US buyout giant Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

The supermarket then subsequently agreed a £6.3bn offer from a consortium led by Fortress – owned by Japan’s Softbank – and also including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments.

US private equity giant Apollo then outlined it was also considering a bid, but last week said that it would not make an independent offer, instead entering talks to join the Fortress consortium.