Auction will decide bidding war for Morrisons

Competition to takeover Bradford-headquartered supermarket chain Morrisons will be decided by an auction this weekend.

Morrisons is currently the subject of a £7bn bidding war between current frontrunner, private equity business Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) and former favourite Fortress Investment Group.

In July the supermarket accepted a £6.3bn from Fortress, which was then increased to £6.7bn.

But in mid-August US buyout giant CD&R reached agreement on a £7bn cash deal. The latest CD&R bid is priced at 285p-per-share, which is worth £1.3bn more than its first bid earlier this summer, which had been at 230p-per-share.

The takeover panel executive has now, at the request of the parties, established an auction procedure to determine the contest’s outcome.

It will comprise a maximum of five rounds which will all take place on Saturday 2 October 2021.

Earlier this month, CD&R said it had reached agreement with pension trustees who had expressed concern about the protections in place for members should Morrisons face a crisis in the future.

CD&R said it had agreed “a comprehensive package of measures” with the trustees to protect the 85,000 members’ benefits and to support the schemes’ ambitions to “buy out”.