Fortress-led group to buy UK’s Morrisons for $8.7 billion


LONDON — Morrisons, the U.K.’s fourth-largest supermarket chain, has accepted a 6.3 billion-pound ($8.7 billion) takeover bid from a group of buyers led by Fortress Investment Group.

The deal comes as investment firms look for opportunities in Britain, where the country’s departure from the European Union and the COVID-19 pandemic have weighed on share prices. Just last month, Morrisons rejected an unsolicited offer of 5.5 billion pounds from New York-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, saying the bid undervalued the company.

The group led by Fortress, a New York-based private equity firm, agreed to pay 254 pence per share for Morrisons, 42% more than the shares were worth before the bid from Clayton Dubilier. The buyers also include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments.

“We have looked very carefully at Fortress’ approach, their plans for the business and their overall suitability as an owner of a unique British food-maker and shopkeeper…,” said Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons “It’s clear to us that Fortress has a full understanding and appreciation of the fundamental character of Morrisons.”

Morrisons, which employs about 110,000 people, operates 497 stores and 339 gas stations across the U.K.

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