An unsolicited £5.5bn private equity bid for Morrisons, swiftly rejected by the supermarket chain, could spark a bidding war for Britain’s fourth biggest grocer and has raised concerns that other supermarket groups could be sold off to private equity.
On Saturday night Morrisons said it had rebuffed a preliminary takeover bid worth just over £5.5bn from the US firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which had offered to pay 230p a share in cash. Morrisons’ share price closed at 178.45p on Friday, valuing the company at £4.3bn.
CD&R declined to comment on whether it would come back with a higher bid, but analysts said its approach was probably the first of several overtures. They said the cashflows and property assets of Morrisons – and other supermarket groups – made them attractive targets to private equity players.
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