Fortress sweetens offer for UK grocer Morrison to £6.7 billion
Fortress Investment Group sweetened its offer for Morrison Supermarkets Plc to £6.7 billion ($9.3 billion) days before a deadline for a rival bidder amid a heated battle for Britain’s fourth-largest grocer.
The consortium offered 270 pence a share plus a 2 pence pidend for Morrison on Friday, up from a previous offer of 254 pence, including the pidend. Morrison’s board reiterated its unanimous support for the offer from the Fortress consortium, which has made a series of binding promises on pay and pensions. Morrison previously rejected a 230 pence bid from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC and the rival private equity group has until Monday at 5 pm London time to increase its offer.
Morrison is attracting takeover interest as it has a large real estate portfolio, owning about 90% of its almost 500 stores. The business, whose turnaround has been led by Chief Executive Officer Dave Potts, generates large amounts of cash and its finances are solid with low underlying debt and a pension surplus. The fortunes of leading supermarket chains improved after lockdowns triggered a surge in grocery spending.
Fortress is leading a group of investors that includes the billionaire Koch family, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore sovereign wealth fund