Fortress Investment Group increase bid for Morrisons to £6.7bn

British supermarket giant Morrisons have accepted an improved takeover offer worth £6.7bn from a consortium led by Softbank-owned Fortress Investment Group.

Private equity firm Fortress has increased its offer to buy Morrison’s to £2.70 plus a 2p special dividend. This represents an 8% increase from the group’s previous offer.

While the board has approved the new offer, shareholders will have to vote on the proposal on 16 August.

The company said in a stock market statement: “Morrisons directors believe that the increased Fortress offer is in the best interests of Morrisons shareholders as a whole, and accordingly unanimously recommend that Morrisons shareholders vote in favour of the resolutions required to implement the increased Fortress offer.”

A statement from Fortress read: “(We) remains committed to becoming the new owner of Morrisons and to being a responsible long-term steward of this great British company through the next stage of its evolution.”

Industry reaction

Laura Hoy, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Softbank-owned private equity firm Fortress has upped it’s offer to buy supermarket chain WM Morrison to £2.70 plus a 2p special dividend. The renewed offer came off the back of speculation that a better offer from CD&R could be on the horizon as well as vocal hostility form some large shareholders. The board at Morrisons has agreed to the offer, which promises to keep Morrisons’ existing strategy in place and refrain from closing stores—a rarity in the world of private equity takeovers, and may assuage concerns among staff and the wider communities where the company operates. The deal is signed, sealed, but not yet delivered. CD&R can still come back with a better offer—the group’s deadline is August 9. It will also have to be passed by shareholders, who are due to vote on the proposed takeover on 16 August.”

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