LONDON, Reuters, October 19-The shareholders of supermarket group Morrisons on Tuesday approved a £7 billion (US$9.7 billion) offer from the US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), pulling down the most competitive takeover in the UK Curtain. year.
Morrison (MRW.L) stated that the board of directors had recommended the transaction at its physical and virtual meetings at its Bradford headquarters in northern England, and the transaction received the necessary majority of shareholders’ support.
CD&R, the former owner of TSCO.L (TSCO.L) Terry Leahy as a senior consultant, won the Morrisons auction on October 2. The consortium led by Fortress Investment Group is one cent higher. read more
CD&R won the bid at a price of 287 pence per share, 61% higher than Morrison's stock price before public acquisition interest in mid-June.
The transaction is expected to be officially completed on October 27 and will end a six-month battle to acquire Morrison, the fourth largest grocer in the UK and one of the country's largest food producers.
It will end Morrison’s 54 years of operation as a public company and witness the final decision of the group to move from Bradford to CD&R’s New York headquarters in the future.
Morrison started as an egg and butter merchant in 1899, and his annual income lags behind market leaders Tesco, Sainsbury (SBRY.L) and Asda.
Among the large number of bids for British companies this year, Morrison’s battle has been the most eye-catching, reflecting private equity’s appetite for cash-generating British assets.
CD&R has committed to retaining Morrisons’ Bradford site and its existing management team headed by CEO David Potts.
It also stated that it will implement the existing strategy of the supermarket chain and will not sell its freehold store real estate and maintain the employee wage rate.
However, these commitments are not legally binding.
"We are very pleased to receive shareholder approval and are excited about the upcoming opportunities," said Leahy, who is expected to succeed Andrew Higginson as chairman of Morrison.
"Morrisons' special tradition, culture and operating model are the key characteristics of the company, and we will pay great attention to these during our tenure as the owner."
After the Issa brothers and TDR Capital completed the acquisition of the third-ranked player Asda in February, Morrisons is the second British supermarket chain to be acquired by private equity in a year.
Potts started his retail career at Tesco when he was a 16-year-old shelf stacker who sold his Morrisons stock to CD&R and would earn more than 10 million pounds. Chief Operating Officer Trevor Strain will earn approximately £4 million.
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