Thursday 22 July 2021 9:42 am

Morrisons shareholders to vote on Fortress-led takeover bid on 16 August

Shareholders in Morrisons will vote on a £6.3bn takeover bid from a trio of private investment groups led by SoftBank-owned Fortress on 16 August.

In a document outlining Fortress Investment’s offer, Morrisons today said a court meeting and a general meeting of shareholders would be held on the August date.

Fortress’ offer for the British supermarket means Morrisons shareholders will receive 254p a share, comprising 252p in cash and a 2p special dividend per share.

Shareholders would be paid the special dividend two weeks after the takeover became effective, the supermarket group said.

Morrisons is in talks with the trustees of its pension schemes, which it said Fortress recognises the need to maintain for shareholders and which will be agreed between the two parties.

“Discussions are continuing with the trustees to agree appropriate mitigation and the trustees have stated their intention to issue their opinion on the Fortress Offer in due course,” Morrisons said.

The lead bidding group is headed by Fortress Investment Group, an American investment management company which has ties with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, and included Canadian pension fund CPPIB and a unit of Koch Industries, KREI. 

Morrisons reached the deal with Fortress at the beginning of July, just two weeks after it rejected an unsolicited offer of 230p-per-share from private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

The total value of the Fortress deal is £9.5bn, with the group valuing Morrison’s equity at £6.3bn and including £3.2bn of net debt under the takeover.

It also comes a few days after rival bidder Apollo Global Management pulled out of its takeover talks to acquire the supermarket chain.

But in a statment published on Tuesday morning, Apollo said it is in talks to join the Fortress group leading the charge to buy Morrisons.

The private equity firm said: “Apollo confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Morrisons other than as part of the Fortress Offer.”

“Apollo Global Management confirms that it is in the preliminary stages of discussions with Fortress Investment Group, LLC regarding the recommended offer for Morrisons by Oppidum Bidco Limited which may result in funds managed or advised by Apollo forming part of the investment group led by Fortress for the purposes of the Fortress Offer” the statement also said.

“Should these discussions lead to any transaction, Apollo would be fully supportive of Fortress’s stated intentions regarding Morrisons.”

Shares in the British supermarket chain were up almost 0.1 per cent on Thursday morning.

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