ACCORDING to Sky News, supermarket group Morrisons may become the subject of a hostile takeover bid by mid-July.
Within a few hours of Sky News revealing that it had received information that there was a potential takeover bid from US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice valuing the group at £5.5 (€6) billion, Morrisons issued the following statement;
“The board of Morrisons evaluated the conditional proposal together with its financial adviser, Rothschild & Co, and unanimously concluded that the conditional proposal significantly undervalued Morrisons and its future prospects.
“Accordingly, the board rejected the conditional proposal on 17 June 2021.”
Following up on this information, the Financial Times revealed that under the UK’s takeover rules, the private equity firm must publicly announce full details of its intended bid by July 17 or not progress the matter again for some time.
Morrisons senior management were ‘under the cosh’ at a recent shareholder’s meeting when 70 per cent voted against proposed significant bonuses for a number of executives even though profits were down last year despite rising sales.
As the fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK with a large number of freehold properties and the until recently highly successful Gibraltar branch (which is having difficulty in bringing in certain stock due to Brexit) it appears a likely candidate for takeover especially as it is supplying Amazon with products for its Prime Pantry service.
If nothing happens with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, giants such as Amazon may just be ready to step in and make their own offer.
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