Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to meet with Morrisons board over takeover deal

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is to meet with members of the Morrisons’ board to discuss the proposed takeover by a US-based hedge fund.

Bradford-based Morrisons revealed last weekend it had agreed to a £6.3bn bid from a consortium of investment groups.

The offer, led by Softbank-owned Fortress which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments, will see shareholders receive 252p per share plus a 2p special dividend.

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However, both unions and Labour MPs have raised concerns about the deal which they fear may impact upon jobs and the supermarket’s sizeable real estate portfolio.

Morrisons is set to be taken over.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Kwarteng confirmed he was due to speak to the Morrisons’ board this week but added he had no plans to speak to Fortress.

“We are monitoring the situation,” he said.

“It is not something that classically I would want to intervene on. I think there is a role for Government but I don’t want to be in a position where the Government is going to intervene on every single M&A transaction that takes place. I don’t think that’s the role of ministers.

“I think there is a concern about Morrisons with its great tradition, its great history. It employs a huge amount of people, about 100,000 people, so it is a significant business.

Kwasi Kwertang

“Clearly, it would be remiss of me not to take an interest in that and not try to have wider conversations about what the future might look like.”

Regarding his impending talks with the Morrisons’ board, he said: “I want to hear from the operators of the business what their strategy is and what their thinking is and I want to have that conversation.”

Shares in Morrisons soared by more than 11 per cent this week.