Morrisons to be sold off at billion pound auction in days, supermarket confirms
The auction will take place on October 2
Morrisons has confirmed that the battle for its takeover will be decided via an auction process.
In what is set to be the biggest shake-up to the company since its acquisition of Safeway in 2004, two groups will go head-to-head in a one day auction for the supermarket.
Private equity giants Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) and Fortress Investment Group will take part in the auction on October 2.
CD&R started its pursuit of the the supermarket, which is the fourth largest in Britain, back in June, becoming the first company to put down an offer for the company.
Fortress then tabled their own deal in July, offering £6.3 billion for Morrisons. After being told this offer was too low, Fortress returned a month later with an increased offer of £6.7 billion, which was then accepted by shareholders.
But later in August, CD&R returned with their own increased bid of £7 billion, causing the board to change their mind, withdraw their support for the Fortress bid and instead back the higher offer.
Because neither bidder had declared its offer as final, the London stock market's takeover panel said that all parties involved had agreed to an auction process to decide the outcome.
The Mirror reports that a buyer will be announced on Monday morning (October 4). However there is still a chance that the auction process could be scrapped if either of the bidders refuse to increase their current offers.
Shares in Morrisons were up 1.3 per cent in early deals on Wednesday (September 26), trading at 296 pence.
The supermarket chain was founded in Bradford in 1899, and now has almost 500 stores across England, Wales and Scotland. It is the fourth-largest supermarket chain in the UK and employs more than 110,000 staff.
CD&R has previously said that if it took over the company then store closures would not be on the cards, although analysts Bernstein have warned that any new owners would need to sell off part of the supermarket to reclaim some cash.
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