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.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

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.


Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today.

Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers.

So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. If you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.

Thank you

James Mitchinson