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The battle for British supermarket group Morrisons

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By Reuters
The battle for British supermarket group Morrisons
The battle for British supermarket group Morrisons   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

– Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket group, is the subject of the country’s most high-profile takeover battle with a raft of bids and counter bids reflecting private equity’s appetite for UK Plc.

Here is a timeline of events so far.

June 19

Morrisons rejects a proposed 5.52 billion pound ($7.43 billion)cash offer from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

June 30

Morrisons investor JO Hambro says CD&R should increase its offer to around 6.5 billion pounds.

July 3

Morrisons agrees to a 6.3 billion pound offer from a consortium led by SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Group. It emerges Fortress made an initial approach in early May.

July 5

A third private equity group, Apollo Global Management, says it is evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons.

July 20

Apollo says it will not bid for Morrisons on its own but may join the Fortress consortium.

July 22

Scheme document outlining Fortress’ offer is published and Aug. 16 set for Morrisons’ shareholders to vote on offer. UK Takeover Panel gives CD&R until Aug. 9 to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

July 27

Silchester, Morrisons’ biggest shareholder, says not inclined to support Fortress offer.

July 28

Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund joins Fortress-led consortium.

July 29

Morrisons investor M&G says Fortress offer does not reflect the value of the group.

Aug. 6

Morrisons agrees to an improved offer worth 6.7 billion pounds from Fortress consortium and adjourns until Aug. 27 a shareholder meeting to vote on the offer.

Aug. 9

Takeover Panel extends CD&R’s “put-up or shut-up” deadline until Aug. 20.

Aug. 19

Morrisons agrees to a 7.0 billion pound (285 pence a share) offer from CD&R and drops the Fortress recommendation. Fortress says it is “considering its options”. Morrisons says Aug. 27 shareholder meeting will instead be held around week starting Oct. 4.

Aug. 23

Morrisons shareholder Legal & General says it believes the true value of the supermarket group should be realised following CD&R’s sweetened bid, with more attention now being paid to its property assets.

Aug. 24

Morrisons’ pension schemes warn a takeover by either CD&R or Fortress could “materially weaken” the security of the schemes if no additional protection is agreed.

Aug. 27

Morrisons says scheme document for CD&R’s offer to be published on or around Sept. 11. It says shareholder meeting to vote on CD&R offer will be held on or around Oct. 5.

Sept. 8

Morrisons says it is in talks with CD&R, Fortress and the Takeover Panel over an auction process. It says scheme document for CD&R’s offer to be published around Sept. 25, with a shareholder meeting around Oct. 18.

Sept. 14

CD&R reaches agreement with pension trustees to provide additional security and support.

Sept. 25

Scheme document for CD&R’s offer published. Shareholder meeting slated for Oct. 19.

Sept. 29

Takeover Panel says auction will be held on Oct. 2.

Oct. 2

CD&R wins the auction, bidding 287 pence a share versus Fortress’ 286 pence.

($1 = 0.7427 pound)