Timeline of how the Morrisons takeover tussle unfolded before CD&R's £7bn bid

Big four supermarket Morrisons has been at the centre of a takeover tussle for several months with the battle for ownership of the Bradford-based grocer being settled through a rare auction process.

A Morrisons store in Morley.

The successful bidder was US-based private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) with a bid of £7bn.

Here's a timeline of how events unfolded over the past five months in what has been the most high-profile of a raft of bids for British companies this year, reflecting private equity’s appetite for cash-generating UK assets.

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May 4 - An initial unsolicited proposal was received from SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Groupon at 220p a share. This was not made public at the time.

June 19 - Morrisons rejected a proposed £5.52bn cash offer from CD&R. The supermarket said the proposal "significantly undervalued Morrisons and its future prospects".

June 30 - Morrisons investor JO Hambro said CD&R should increase its offer to around £6.5bn. The top ten shareholder in Morrisons said: "We believe any offer for the group approaching 270p per share merits engagement and consideration."

July 3 - Morrisons agrees to a £6.3bn offer from a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group. It was also revealed that Fortress made an initial approach in early May.

July 5 - A third private equity group, Apollo Global Management, said it was evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons. The New-York based confirmed that it is “in the preliminary stages of evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons”.

July 20 - However, Apollo said it would not bid for Morrisons on its own but may join the Fortress consortium.

July 27 - Morrisons' biggest shareholder Silchester said it was not inclined to support Fortress offer.

July 28 - Singapore's GIC sovereign wealth fund joins Fortress-led consortium. The fund said it will take part in the consortium to buy Morrisons through its Cambourne Life investment vehicle.

July 29 - Morrisons investor M&G said the Fortress offer does not reflect the value of the group.

August 6 - Morrisons agrees to an improved offer worth £6.7bn pounds from the Fortress consortium and adjourns until August 27 a shareholder meeting to vote on the offer.

August 9 - The Takeover Panel, which governs merger and acquisition deals in the UK, extends CD&R's "put-up or shut-up" deadline until August 20.

August 19 - Morrisons agrees to a £7bn pound, 285 pence a share, offer from CD&R and drops the Fortress recommendation. Fortress said it is "considering its options". Morrisons pushes the August 27 shareholder meeting back to October.

August 23 - Morrisons shareholder Legal & General says it believes the true value of the supermarket group should be realised following CD&R's sweetened bid, with more attention now being paid to its property assets.

August 24 - Morrisons' pension schemes warn a takeover by either CD&R or Fortress could "materially weaken" the security of the schemes if no additional protection is agreed.

August 27 - The Bradford-based supermarket says the scheme document for CD&R's offer will be published on or around September 11.

September 8 - Morrisons says it is in talks with CD&R, Fortress and the Takeover Panel over an auction process. It said the scheme document for CD&R's offer would now be published around September 25, with a shareholder meeting taking place around October 18.

September 14 - CD&R reaches agreement with pension trustees to provide additional security and support.

September 25 - Scheme document for CD&R's offer published. Shareholder meeting slated for October 19.

September 29 - The Takeover Panel says an auction will be held on October 2 because neither bidder has declared their offers as being final. The contest will consist of a maximum of five rounds. In the first, either bidder may increase their offer. If neither does, CD&R's existing agreed offer wins.

October 2 - CD&R wins the auction, bidding 287 pence a share versus Fortress' 286 pence.

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