The Wm Morrison supermarket chain and its advisers have chosen to enter into a recommended cash-and-share deal with a group led by U.S. private equity firm Fortress Investment Group. The New York Fortress Investment Group will acquire a controlling stake in the grocery retailer for 6.3 billion pounds ($9.4 billion). The deal which was subjected to shareholder approval, will see the grocer delist from the London Stock Exchange.
Last week, Morrisons confirmed that an offer from private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice was in the “preliminary” stages of consideration. A second offer was received from a consortium led by Advent International and a third offer from private equity firm Apax Partners, both of which remain “preliminary” also, Morrisons said in a statement. Morrisons shares jumped last week after the first approach from Clayton Dubilier & Rice.
Morrisons put itself up for sale last summer, despite owning one of the largest stores of its kind in the UK. The grocer has spent nearly four years under Chief Executive Dalton Philips, who was hired in 2014 to try to turn the ailing business around. Morrison reported underlying earnings before interest, taxes, has been through several leadership changes over the past few years, including a $2 billion bid for the grocer from Tesco PLC last year. In the same week, Morrison’s chief executive Keith Hellawell announced his retirement after 20 years with the company.
The executive search committee is to meet on August 17 to consider internal and external candidates for the CEO role. Fortress Investment Group LLC (New York) is a global investment firm with approximately $52.7 billion of assets under management. The firm has more than $2.9 billion of gross exposure to the UK with exposure to approximately $2.4 billion of collateralized loan obligation (CLO) positions. Fortress Investment Group LLC is a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission tumbled as much as 5% on Monday following reports on the takeover bid, which analysts at Numis believe would take the supermarket group off its feet. Refer to this article to learn more