Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain Morrisons may soon be American

Morrisons HQ Bradford
Morrisons HQ Bradford Credit: Michael Ely CC

WITH two confirmed bidders and a third considering the situation, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain Morrisons may soon be American.

American money seems destined to find a home in Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain Morrisons which unlike others mainly generates its own produce.

Last month it turned down a bid from private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) worth £5.5 billion (€6 billion) claiming it did not accurately reflect the worth of the company.


This month however it has accepted in principle, subject to shareholder approval, a £6.3 billion (€6.9 billion) bid from another US equity firm Fortress Investment Group.

Fortress in particular appear to be anxious to ensure that they are not seen as pirates or asset strippers and their proposal appears to be couched in terms which will satisfy both the unions representing the supermarket’s 110,000 staff as well as the UK Government.

Now, a third US investor, Apollo Global has indicated that it may be interested in launching its own bid but has not as yet made a final decision.

In the meantime, in anticipation of a higher price, Morrisons shares have risen from around £1.80 (€1.98) in January to £2.67 (€2.94) on July 5, the day after the offer was made which was 5 per cent higher than the offer price.

One of the many attractions to investors is the fact that Morrisons hold a contract with Amazon UK for same day grocery supply to customers ordering online and with Amazon already opening its own supermarket in London, there are some expectations that it too may enter into the bidding fray.

Customers in the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar who have made the Morrisons store on the Rock one of its most profitable will be hoping that any sale will see the store managing to improve its product range which has suffered dramatically following Brexit.

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