Chairman of Bradford-based Morrisons rejects claims of tensions over possible counterbid

The chairman of Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons has rejected claims of tensions within the boardroom over a potential counterbid to buy the firm.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 7:01 am
In a statement, Andrew Higginson said: “There is not a shred of truth to this. Throughout this process the board has acted, and will continue to act, in the best interest of all stakeholders in Morrisons.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Clayton Dubilier & Rice is in talks with lenders about a bid to gazump a swoop to take the company private by a group of investors led by US buy-out fund Fortress.

American private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has been set a deadline to table a bid for Morrisons or walk away from the takeover battle for the supermarket.

The UK takeover panel said the firm, which had an original £5.5 billion approach rebuffed, has until 5pm on August 9 to make a firm offer.

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Since turning down CD&R’s proposals, Morrisons’ management have agreed a £6.3 billion takeover by a consortium involving private equity rivals Fortress and Apollo.

It is understood that CD&R is working on a financial package to allow it to put forward a second bid for the retailer.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, some members of the board are said to be more amenable to a counter bid from Clayton Dubilier & Rice.

In a statement, issued today, Andrew Higginson, Morrison's chairman, said: “There is not a shred of truth to this. Throughout this process the board has acted, and will continue to act, in the best interest of all stakeholders in Morrisons.”

The new deadline for an offer is seven days before Morrisons shareholders will vote at a general meeting on the current Fortress-backed deal.

Apollo Management had initially been in the frame to compete in a three-way bidding war but decided to join forces with Fortress last week.